“They” are out there and they live among us. They are the ones who feel like they are doing you, and probably the world a favor by being the “Devil’s Advocate.” It seems like no matter what is said, they want to find a way to tear it down or contradict. While there is something to be said for looking at all sides of a question, they really have only one side to speak for: the other side. Were you to say “A” they would say “B.” Were you to say “B” they would say “A.” It’s not so much that they want to play “Devil’s Advocate” and cause you to look at all sides; it’s that they want to provoke arguments.
Sometimes people accuse Christians of acting like that. When we speak about God’s righteousness we are often at odds with our society. Our society advocates and celebrates many things that are opposed to God’s ways. Of course, because of many cultural differences, we might even disagree about those things in the church. We do have a responsibility, though. The author of Hebrews puts it this way: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
What does it mean to live at peace with everyone? There are some pretty bad people out there doing some awful things. How do we live at peace with them? There are even some Christians who believe and act differently from the right way to believe and act…er…my way that is. We live at peace with others when our first thoughts for them are that they might enjoy God’s best for their lives. We live at peace with them when we don’t start acting like changing their sinful behavior depends on us haranguing them at every step. “But how will they learn about God if we don’t remind them of their sin?” you might ask. The second part of that verse answers that question. Be holy. What does it mean to be holy? Being holy means that we are set apart for God. It doesn’t mean that we show others that “I am better than you.” If you nag at someone because of their sin, they will resist your words and your actions. If you show your relationship to God by your behavior and your attitudes while you talk about the love and grace of God that changed you, you will reveal His presence in a far more effective way.
We have plenty of dissension and division in the world. If you want a good fight, it won’t take long to see one at many places around you. You will never find the phrase “blessed are those who are always right” in the teachings of Jesus – although many might think that I must live by that saying. Jesus does tell us “blessed are the peacemakers.” Our responsibility, once we are at peace with God ourselves, is to help people make peace with God through His love and grace. The sin is there. We could concentrate on that and turn people away, or we could remind people that no matter what their sin, Jesus died on the cross so that their sins could be forgiven and they could have peace with God. We could start practicing that attitude in the Church first, and then take the message of peace with God to a world that thrives on conflict.
Lord God, thank You that You gave me peace. Thank You for those people whom You used to bring this peace to me. Let me be at peace with others. Let me show others the peace I have because of You as I live in a way that brings honor to You. Help me to bring Your peace to them.