Picture this: A group of Christians are sitting together, chit-chatting in a living room where an elephant is stomping around, smashing the furniture. One man finally jumps up and begins shouting, “There’s an elephant in the room!” Everyone then proceeds to smack the man with sofa cushions till he shuts up.
It makes sense, I suppose: it’s easier to shut up the man than the elephant. In the church this shoot-the-messenger approach to conflict grows from the false notion that Christians are always unconfrontational and nice, even when sin or false teaching are smashing the church to pieces. But that’s not peace. It’s pretend.
Real peace isn’t nice. Real peace arises from violence: the murder of Jesus Christ on the cross. That’s where Jesus wrought peace between God and mankind by paying for our sin. Believers are no longer enemies of God. We’re his representatives now, working with his authority and protection behind us. It’s amazing how much trouble we can avoid simply by remembering our mission--and that an attack on a brother or sister is an assault on the King. At the same time, let’s remember that Jesus didn't come to bring peace but a sword. But that’s tomorrow’s dose.
(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley