Month 9:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year 5935:247 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 12 December 2011
Follow Peace and Holiness
Measuring Words and Attitudes
One of the apparent paradoxes of the Besorah (Gospel) is that we are to both pursue shalom (peace) with people as well as preach Yahweh's Davar (Word) that is highly provocative to the flesh. Not only is Yah'shua (Jesus) the Sar Shalom or "Prince of Peace" (Is.9:6), but He is also a "Stone of Stumbling" and "Rock of Offence" (Is.8:14; 1 Pet.2:8).
"Pursue shalom (peace) with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Master" (Heb.12:14, NKJV).
There are believers who cringe at gving offence to people and try to avoid it at all costs - including at the cost of emet (truth) - as well as those who seem to get a perverse pleasure in offending and stirring people up, as though this was the actual goal, in order (I suspect) to prove that they are 'right'. In today's passage we are commanded to simultaneously pursue shalom (peace) - making that our goal - and set-apartness (holiness) which result when we accept that we are owned by Yah'shua (Jesus) to do with as He wills and live His Torah lifestyle. This does not mean that we are a failure if we fail to live in shalom (peace) with other people, so long as have tried:
We are to do what is possible expending every effort to be shalom- (peace-) makers, but when that fails, we are to leave those who refuse shalom (peace) with Yahweh. Whilst we are commanded to willfully "give no offense", seeking the "profit of many, that they may be saved" (1 Cor.10:32-33, NKJV), and while we are to "give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed" (2 Cor.6:3, NKJV), we must nevertheless speak the emet (truth) - not obnoxiously or with railing, but "speaking the emet (truth) in ahavah (love)" (Eph.4:15, NKJV).
"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom.12:18, NKJV).
It's not just what we say but how we say it that also matters. These two are twins, and if you try to separate one from the other, you will never get the desired result, whether it is in witnessing for Messiah or in our relationship-building. We are not machines - we are human beings - and you cannot ram the cold emet (truth) down someone's throat and expect it to be accepted. This is at best na´ve and at worst foolish. It has to be served warm! Our living "peaceably with all men" does, as Paul reminds, "depend on you". Our attitude is every bit as important as the words we speak, because words are generated in the mind whereas attitudes are made in the lev (heart)...and our witness must always be in both.
In the end we can only be expected to do what "is possible", realising that we are first converted by attitude, not words. What, after all, is ahavah (love) if not an attitude? And attitude is power - either good or evil - that is driven by a spirit - either Yahweh's or the devil's - one that seeks to bless and liberate or to oppress and enslave.
If we choose to live lives of set-apartness (holiness), as the writer of Hebrews admonishes us to, then we will suffer persecution, for:
We never need apologise for the emet (truth) but at the same time we should never premeditatedly do so with an attitude that is hostile to people or calculated to stir them up to anger. What good does this do? Not that an angry opponent necessarily means that we have had a wrong attitude in the first place, for the devil will stir up anger in people no matter how loving and long-suffering we are. All we are to take care in doing is in making sure we speak with the toqef (authority) of a submitted life in Messiah, "speaking the emet (truth) in ahavah (love)" (Eph 4:15, NKJV) - in real power.
"All who desire to live godly in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus) will suffer persecution" (2 Tim.3:12, NKJV).