I don’t remember a time when either my nation or my church was so divided as now. Do you?
Could it be that social media with its well-proven online disinhibition effect has contributed? The ability to opine back and forth with cyber-speed, in addition to faceless communication’s reduction of empathy makes it so easy to be nasty. Here’s a little mini social experiment I run: Before posting a cutting or angry comment I ask, “Would I say this to this person’s face?”
The answer is almost always “No.”
“God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15). Is there a way to bring peace to the war zone of social media, using it for its potential to promote good, to educate, and to connect? In my study this morning I saw that peacemaking is, at its core, a creative act, requiring us to find a workaround to conflict.
I’m inspired by the example of Elisha, the prophet of peace. Elisha had been prophetically warning God’s people of the Syrian enemy king’s plots to attack them. In vengeance, the king sent a “great army” to Elisha’s house. When the prophet’s servant woke up early to see the army, he ran to Elisha in a panic. Elisha yawned and said, “There are more of us than them,” and then prayed that God would give the servant supernatural vision.
Looking again at the battlefield the servant saw them: Above the gnarly army of Syrians, flanking the mountain heights, an angel army of chariots, horses, and fire stood ready. But rather than mobilize the warrior-angels, Elisha prayed that God would strike the Syrians blind. As they stumbled about on what would have been their battlefield, Elijah offered to help them, leading them straight to the king of Israel’s palace in Samaria.
The story is really almost comical. And it gets funnier.
“Should I kill them?” the king asked.
Elisha said, “No, make them a banquet and send them home.”
Genius. Peace as a simple, creative, different-than-the-usual act of kindness.
As a result of this peace banquet, “the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel” (1 Kings 6:23).
Peace isn’t always possible. But we beat our ploughshares into swords too soon, especially when it costs us nothing but a few clicks on social media. Rather than combative impulsivity, peacemaking requires creative intentionality.
What are some creative ways you’ve brought peace to your page?
By the way—and this is an ancillary point–you all are my angel army. I recently send out to my email list, asking if any of you missed my blog posts and to my surprise received a deluge of encouraging comments. You’ve inspired me to restart my blog! And I didn’t even see you, in all your glory, above the mountains. So, keep me aware of your presence and faithful readership by commenting, okay? Just comment below
Peace on earth,