I have a friend. I won’t tell you his name…
A group of friends were speaking badly about him. I was sitting in the background casually hearing everything they said while I was reading a book. They were really ripping on him. Then he walked into the room!
You could have heard a pin drop. I noticed immediately the awkward silence as he walked into a room where he thought his friends were hanging out and how quiet it was. So naturally I started laughing out loud. Really loud. Those in the room who looked at me saw me and thought I was laughing at something I read…but I wasn’t. I closed my book and greeted him and said I really appreciated something about him.
Then I left the room. I was pretty disgusted with them. I should have said something. Stood up to them. But I didn’t.
This wasn’t in Jr. High or High School. We were all adults. Seasoned, Christian adults and they were acting like children and speaking ill of someone who thought he had friendship with some other adults and had no clue what they really thought about him. A few of them were highly respected ministers and ministry leaders in the church…people you’d never think would speak that way of another Christian brother. I won’t tell you their names either. If I did, you’d call me a liar.
It is shameful and I see it too often. Adults unwilling to do what is right and to speak and have a conversation about life and what we may or may not agree on. It is happening in the public social forums online. I see people ripping on one another with little regard for others and that they may have legitimate reasons why they view the world the way they do.
As Christians, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and we wonder why the world is rejecting faith in Christ. We are called by Christ to be peace makers (Matthew 5:9). That doesn’t mean if there is no peace we have failed. But if we can do something, anything, we should do what we can.
The apostle Paul wrote,
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18 [ESV]
I should live in peace with everyone. They may not live in peace with me, but I am going to do what I can to live at peace with them. I am going to do kind things for them, speak nicely to them, and be their friend.
Paul, in prison no less, wrote,
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-3 [ESV]
We are called to be eager in maintaining unity and peace. I see our world eager to attack and get revenge in the guise of “justice” for things they don’t like.
The message is clear. If you have been spending any time speaking ill of someone you hate, maybe you ought to mend that situation. It’s not up to me to call people out here publicly, but I recently prayed for my friend from that day. He is an awesome guy and does a lot for the Kingdom of God. I am proud to be his friend. Guess what? I prayed for the rest of that group of friends. We don’t agree on much. But I appreciate their gifts too. If we would spend more time in prayer for one another, even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), maybe our world would get the picture that Christ is a different path and worthy of our time.