Tuesday, April 22, 2014

James 3:14-18 -- On Making Peace

"But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
James 3:14-18

It's easy in life, I think, to get into a place where we feel envy or strife.  Just going into a meeting, thinking about a job interview, seeing pictures on Facebook and comparing ourselves to those people... all of these things and many many more, everywhere we are, can trigger envy or lead to strife.  And it is even easy to justify to ourselves.  In a society where there are wide gaps between classes, genders, races, political parties, titles, and more, it is hard to feel "at one."  God asks us here, though, despite the lack of oneness of our society, not to glory in envy and strife, and not to lie to ourselves about how justified it is, or how it will build a better world.  Envy and strife only lead to confusion and evil... they don't solve problems.
God's wisdom, as opposed to society's wisdom or even our own, is pure.  It promotes peace, and is not partial or hypocritical.  He asks us to look at others with gentleness, to give willingly when asked, to be kind and merciful and do good works to the people around us.  The last verse to me is the most interesting one here.  The way that we get to righteousness is by planting peace... righteousness grows *from* that.  And instead of just waiting around for God to grant us peace, we can be *making* it.
Today, let's avoid envy and strife, and start planting the seeds of peace everywhere.  Let's ignore the societal gaps all around us and start treating people like people, rather than labeling them as better or worse or above or below ourselves.  Let's never use an advantageous gap to promote our own power or superiority, but only to help people and lift them up.  Let's plant peace in our own hearts and grow some righteousness.  Let's make peace as we live, and love, and serve others... helping to close the gaps between people and take down the walls that separate us from each other, rather than strengthening them.  Let's stop fighting, and start solving the problem. :)

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