Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Bridge Builders

by Peter Brokaar

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:8, NIV

Some folk might write off Christianity because they feel it is all such ‘pie-in-the-sky stuff’. These people probably don’t read much of the Bible. I love how the Scriptures are full of practical, down-to-earth advice on how to live our daily lives, such as this verse for today.

In a world marked by division, disunity and polarisation, we can make a real difference by learning to be peacemakers and bridgebuilders. The easiest thing to do when others disagree with us is to write them off, cut them out of our lives, burn bridges and give up on the relationship. Sadly, many in today’s world won’t even respectfully discuss certain topics with those who disagree. Those on the other side of the fence are all too easily depicted as evil, simply for having a different view on things. As Christians however, we are meant to be radically different.

First of all, we need to find a way to live at peace with other Christians. Within the family of God there will be many with whom we disagree. Sometimes we’ll be right, while the others are wrong. Other times this will be the reverse. And then there will be instances when both sides are wrong. Regardless of being right or wrong, as long as we have a true faith in Jesus, we all belong to the same family of God, which means we should treat each other on basis of this unbreakable connection in God.

Wherever we go in this world, people will disagree with us, and we will disagree with them. It’s an inescapable fact of life. But being in disagreement does not have to mean being at odds. The world will disagree with us on great many things, ultimately because we believe different things about Jesus. But should we therefore see the majority of the world population as enemies or threats? Not at all. Even when people choose to behave towards us as enemies, we can still choose to behave as friends.

Living peaceably does not mean that we can avoid conflict. Our message about Jesus is, by definition, offensive to those who reject it. Yet we are to proclaim it loud and clear. But even when people respond negatively to what we believe, we ourselves have a choice on how to behave. People may behave poorly and write us off, but how will we respond in our heart? I hope we can be different. Instead of purposely agitating and broadening the division, we can be kind and gentle. Instead of burning bridges, we can consciously keep the door open and wait for a time when we can re-connect. When we follow the Bible’s instructions on living, as far as depends on us, peaceably with all men, we display something of the glorious character of Jesus in a dark, and often lonely, world. May it be that, through our attitudes, many are drawn to His light.

Prayer: Lord, I am sorry for whenever I have not followed Your instruction to live peaceably with others. Please help me to start doing so (both in real life and online) and I do pray that many will be touched by Your Spirit as I do this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Peter Brokaar is Director of Ellel Ministries Scotland and has been there together with his wife Liz since 2005. They have 3 kids, all born in Scotland! In his free time he likes reading, cooking, running and surfing. Being at Ellel Scotland has given him the privilege of getting to know God deeper and sharing that joy with many others.

 

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