17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is,
first of all, pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:17-18 (NIV)
17-18 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others.
It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if
you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
James 3:18 (The Message)
I was at a conference not long ago. After listening to some inspiring speakers and singing in unison, many beautiful praise songs, the walls seem to come down. Everyone was interacting without reservation. Joy seemed to radiate from everyone’s face. People were saying and doing kind things without a second thought. The Spirit of the Lord was present in our praises. It seemed this was a brief glimpse of what heaven would be like.
Later, I met some of the same people at the motel we were staying at. We exchanged a pleasant hello however, the openness and freedom of communicating unhindered seemed to have come to somewhat of a halt.
How quickly don’t we put up walls and a protective toughness so no one will know how vulnerable we are?
And wouldn’t it be nice if we could continue to be peace-loving and considerate, and full of mercy 27/7?
But the reality is we live in a broken world and heaven is our future home.
However, we can all work towards being more peace-loving and considerate! And isn’t it often our pride that stops us from doing that? For me, I prefer to keep the protective walls up. Don’t let too many people know your soft spots, am I right? And sometimes we pretend we couldn’t care less when we care a lot.
So why these walls? And why can’t we just live in peace continuously? Can’t we read what the Bible tells us to do?
The short answer is sin. We live in a broken world. And although we would like to live by the Spirit, we also live in the flesh, our old sinful nature. No one will be perfect here, however much we may want to be and we want to be. That will come one day when we reach our eternal home.
For now, we shall have to lean on God’s grace to help us bear the fruit of being a peacemaker. He will empower us as we ask him. So often we forget to ask Him. And it is hard work. But God wants us to do our part to live at peace with everyone around us.
This does not mean peace at all costs and never a confrontation. If you want to improve at bearing the fruit of being a peacemaker and having a harvest of righteousness, I suggest reading the book called, “The Peacemaker by Ken Sande.”
One of the most peace-loving characters in the Bible, the Old Testament, was Isaac, one of the great patriarchs. We did a study on this in our Couples Bible Study, the first year we were married. Isaac did what he could to avoid fights over the wells in the land of Canaan. He lived quietly, with an unfaltering faith. Isaac prospered and bore the fruit of righteousness.
Once again, Jesus is our ultimate example of living with wisdom and bringing peace. He brought us peace upon the cross. How we still wrestle needlessly.
If we just treated each other with dignity and honour, as James 3:17-18 instructs, how much richer and robust our communication would be. And how much healthier indeed.
I love how God’s Word reminds us in Psalm 133 that those who live in unity receive God’s blessing.
In our family, that has proved true. When the enemy has the say, it is chaos. But when God rules and unity prevails, there is indeed blessing. What is it like in your family?
I believe we must all pray often that God would help us live in unity and that Satan would have no say in our families. That leads to unity and healthy communication, which honours God.
How we will have to fight the enemy in prayer for the Lord to prevail in our family life!
For today, let us conclude with the words of Psalm 133:1 and 3b.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.