By Benjamin H. Liles
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the gentleness (meekness) of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.
For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~ James 3:13-18, New King James
We live in a world where war seems to tbe the necessity of life. And James' claim here is that it is actually not normal for the Christian, the person who follows Jesus the Messiah. James is saying, basically, that to be wise and understanding peace needs to reign in our lives. Jesus told us, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid" (John 14:27, Berean Study).
In other words, we ought to give love, an act of mercy, regardless the circumstances to others. Early this past month I wrote, "What fulfills the Law of Moses, which God gave to Israel and now to us who claim they follow Christ? Paul says, "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (Love Mercy and Walk Humbly).
How are we to live in gentleness and in peace with others when our natural tendency is to strike back when someone strikes us? At the heart of the Christ-followers life is one that lives to please Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Over a month ago, when I wrote God's Favor, I said, "it goes back to getting under God and His sovereignty (making God your ruler, your King). In other words, get to where He is on the throne of your heart. What was that first commandment? 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.'"
We want God to be made evident in our lives. So, we would do all we can to make that happen, but not to the extent where we hurt others. No, rather we put ourselves on the line. We lay down all of who we are in order Jesus is lifted up and others can see the light of our hearts and lives. Rather, when something of harm comes we should be willing and able to be gentle the way the Lord was gentle toward us, giving His life for ours. I remember writing, "I love how Jesus put it when the disciples asked him how they were to pray the Lord's Prayer, 'And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation'" (Forgiving One Another).
So, what we can do are the following in extending peace and showing wisdom:
- Love others just as Jesus loved us, giving His life up so we have life everlasting.
- Instead of returning evil for evil, we give grace and the heart of service even if it's hard.
- If it means finding out why you've received malice, ask what's wrong, and help find a solution so it doesn't happen again.
Father, Your ways are so much better than my own. Half the time I feel like You are hard to know and even grasp. But through Your Son, Jesus, I can know You. You are with me as much as Jesus is. My eyes have beheld the King and in Him, You, I find peace, mercy, grace, and the way to live towards others. It means putting You first and foremost; it means reading and putting to memory Your words You have given in the Bible. It also means I live my life the way You had Jesus live. He lived it in mercy, explaining the truth, walking humbly in You, and being gentle and peaceful. I ask for Your guidance and Your peace in this day. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.