Another late-night thought:
Peace can be kept with fear, or with honor. Tragically, we see fear used much more. Between nations, it’s the fear of losing power. Among leaders of a nation, it’s fear of exposed secrets. Between leaders of a nation and its people, it’s fear of punishment. Among neighbors, it’s fear of there not being enough. In families, it’s fear of rejection.
In all relationships, what honor looks like is based on the worth you hold someone in. If your definition of worth says that your worst enemy is still an incredible creation loved by God, then even if there’s nothing you’ll ever concur on, you can still “agree to disagree” in genuine peace and goodwill.
But the moment you agree with the lie that some people deserve life and some don’t, your peace becomes maintained by fear. Why? Because you’ve left the perspective you had looking at the world with God, to camp out in enemy territory on your own, where fear is king. Here, everyone is either a threat or a conditional ally against the threats. Here, fear poisons the mind and petrifies the heart.
This isn’t a naïve, “Can’t we all just get along?” Clearly we can’t. It’s not about forcing or manipulating anyone to do anything. It’s about you. It’s about your new heart and renewed mind. It’s about you getting a little more sense of the infinite worth your heavenly Father holds you in. And it’s about seeing people, cities, and nations as he does, and releasing your peace to them by honoring God’s love for them.
Just one more thought to add to the thought that’s already gotten away from me: It’s a difficult one, but it’s truth: carrying your cross sometimes means loving those who wouldn’t think twice about nailing you to it.