Making Peace in an Angry World

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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,
Jen

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37 thoughts on “Making Peace in an Angry World

  1. Daniel Parsons Reply

    Excellent article Jen. We do not have to agree with everyone but we should interact with people respectfully. I posted this last night on social media.

    Let Us Bring Civility & Respect Back to Our Nation. I Did Not Enlist In the US Air Force to Defend the Constitution of a Divided Nation. As a Veteran, I Have Respected Mr. Obama & President Trump Even Though I Voted for Neither Man. It Is Biblical to Respect the People That Are In Positions of Authority.

    Obedience, To Human Authorities
    Most Relevant Verses
    Romans 13:1-7
    Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;read more.

    1 Timothy 2:1-3
    First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

    Titus 3:1
    Verse Concepts
    Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,

  2. Madeline Johnston Reply

    Elisha provides a great illustration here–echoed also in Christ’s words about turning the other cheek, walking the extra mile, etc.

  3. Sunnie Reply

    Jen, your topic and thoughts encouraged me greatly today. I know for a fact that my personal peace is only found through the Holy Spirit. I want to share that peace today!

  4. Debbie Spicer Reply

    Your posts always bring me to Yahwehs altar of grace. Im so thankful to hear that you have resumed your blog. Keep your head up, and hand in His dear Sister. God is using your blog to touch many more than you can imagine!

  5. Esteban Hidalgo Reply

    Just wanted to let you know that I do read all your blog posts, I usually never leave a reply, but I thought this time I should let you know how much I appreciate you as a writer and author. Blessings!

  6. Karis Cassidy-Osadchuck Reply

    Beautiful thoughts, practical ideas to implement immediately in shifting our minds eye to the beauty of kindness and “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a angry word stirs up strife. “

  7. Mike McCabe Reply

    You asked about creative ways to keep peace online. I don’t know how creative this is but these are a few self-imposed rules I do my best to follow.

    1. I stay away from politics. I have good friends on both sides of the isle and their friendship is more important than expressing my views on things that don’t matter that much anyway because political answers at best are not permanent solutions. The only exception to this rule is if it has strong moral underpinnings (ex: the recent abortion legislation)

    2. I go back and delete posts I’ve made when upon reflection I realize they are not in keeping with the spirit of Jesus.

    3. I ask myself whether this comment is going to lighten or add to other’s burdens. Often a comment I want to make to relieve my sense of frustration will only add to someone else’s burden who reads it.

    4. I also apply the “would I say this to someone’s face” test. If it can’t pass that test, it’s not going to get posted.

  8. Richie Reply

    Thanks for the much-needed blog. I am amazed at the vitriol that people I know as devout Christians will post online. I am even more amazed at the falsehoods they have no problem posting. Thanks for your peaceful words.

  9. Paula Roeloffs Reply

    Thanks Jen. I always read your blogs. Your insights inspire me. Great reminder that we have angels armies ready to move into action if needed. Praying for some right now……

  10. Patty A Ramirez Reply

    Thank you for all your blogs in the past and I look forward to the future with you! You are a great support and encouragement to me…God bless you and your family

  11. ernest b copley Reply

    Our lives would be much better if we wouldn’t bring up politics in the church setting. However I do remember the days when neighbors could discuss the pros & cons of candidates positions without anger.What has changed? One thing for sure,it’s where we get our information that forms our opinion. So I refrain from offering my opinion [ even through I think I am right.] We do have the greatest country in the world ( if we can keep it.) So please continue with the blogs , they are uplifting & insightful. P.S. our church bought a box of your book ,Damsel Arise,to hand out.Good book.

    • Jennifer Schwirzer Post authorReply

      Ernest, I agree with the separation of church and state, but we should, as you pointed out was the case in more civil times, be able to discuss social and political issues. More thoughtful, sensitive people don’t discuss things much these days, but they’re the ones we need to hear from. Plus everyone needs to discuss and process. I tried discussing late-term abortion on twitter and people got angry. Rather than sharing facts, they reacted emotionally. Then a facebook discussion on the same topic stayed calmer and it became very helpful and productive.

  12. Marilyn R Reply

    Hi Jen,
    When people are divided, as our nation and our church is right now–it makes winning souls the more important motive than winning arguments. Somehow, when I try to be the wiser with words–all my attempts using them seem to fail. Hearts are not changed this way.
    I am so glad when I consider that God is for us, not against us–and is also for a lasting peace in a “land” of justice and righteousness. So many times we have to simply take the beam out of our own eyes in order to see. Or we need to act as Elisha did, who saw clearly the supporting angels and used a creative and non violent way of defeating the enemy. We will be giving them ways and tools towards a more peaceful relationship. I love the way Elisha had the King give the enemy soldiers a feast and send them home. I never thought about that one before. Wow–what a powerful example of creating peace in conflict.

  13. Pamela Burghart Reply

    Thank you for the reminder that Our God is a peacemaker. And we should be too!

  14. Bill Weber Reply

    I’m glad you were encouraged to restart your blog (no thanks to silent me!). … Great thoughts promoting peace in social media. … I love Mike McCabe’s self-imposed rules above. … A friend used a band saw to cut out these words in wood to hang in our church’s social room—you may indeed have seen this before, but whether or not:
    No Jesus, No peace.
    Know Jesus, Know peace.

  15. Uzoma Nwosi Reply

    Thank you for this write up. It is good for our activities online to promote peace and godliness. In a world of godlessness and hostility, God’s children are to press for peace and establish it. As Christians we should be nice to nasty people because they do not have or know what we have and know: THE PRINCE OF PEACE! Peace, therefore, should be our culture! Thanks again. God bless.

  16. Heike Reply

    Amazing, truly amazing! God and His timing! Am right now in a situation where i can apply the counsel cause i am in the middle of a situation that could cause a never to heal split between two opinions in a group! Strange, isn’t it, that one is sometimes blind for those simple approaches while stuck in the situation.

    Thanx Jen!

  17. Christina Kline Reply

    Thank you Jen
    I often wonder how much conflict and hatred could be avoided if we prayed about how we respond to people, be it on social media, via text, email etc…as you said, would I say this to someone’s face?

    I find myself praying about everything, but especially difficult circumstances and I often hear God telling me to just be still.

    Sincerely

    Christina

  18. Jon Ruhnke Reply

    Thanks for this reminder, I think of the verse in Romans 12:20-21; Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
    For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    Too many times we want to destroy with our words.

  19. William D Earnhardt Reply

    Wonderful Biblical illustration Jennifer. Sadly I haven even seen in the church people taking advantage of a rilvary to promote their personal political agenda instead of working as peacemakers.

  20. Elizabeth Reply

    That is so beautifully put! I am amazed at how when I pray about conflict Jesus sends angels to diffuse the situation. Maybe they are just waiting for us to ask most of the time.

  21. Elizabeth Reply

    that is so beautifully put! I am amazed at how my prayers are answered over and over when there is a conflict and God sends angels to diffuse the situation. Maybe He is just waiting for us to ask most of the time.

  22. erickajen Reply

    ooohhh yes. all i could think of is the political garbage… people seem to get confused thinking that just because they might be right, that means they can be rude…

  23. Marguerite Taxner Reply

    This writing of yours Jennifer about Elisha, is just a great push toward goodness what the Lord has been teaching me! It is so very good to my soul to build in God’s awesome plan in my life! All together the Eternal Values make me so very greatly happy always I pray for and praise the Lord Jesus!
    Satan tries everything foroshiously to make us unsatisfied, deceive, devide, compromize to have the “wormwood” bitterness in our life and ultemately lose our Eternal Life! It is maybe much easyer to have persecution from outside the Church and it maybe more difficult to handle when it comes from inside the Church. But we cannot let satan to create conflict in our ? s and in the Church, in any our relationships. Cannot let satan to puss us into the ditches!
    It takes daily surrender to God our dear Creator and feed ourself daily with His Word to able to rest and walk on this nerrowing path of Heavenward. We all have a fallen nature and God is so very eager shaking for us all to learn that we do not have right to hold back our fellow brethrens with unger, lies diseption, jeliousy because all of those cousing division.
    But we have only right to love our fellow men our brethrens yes including our enemies. Love them anyway unconditionally, intelligently if they hurt us. A born again ? has the constant mission that creates pesce with forgivness, goodness as Jesus say “pray for your enemy. Love your enemy”!
    I believe that each human face retains some light of Eden. And I am looking for this light as I communicate with them. God is so very great His awesome will, justice and mercy and I loooove to be in this process of development! Praise the Lord! It is so wonderful that I always pull out about peacemaking whan I am offered Bible werses from a basket in the Church.
    God bless you Jennifer guide and protect you and all your dear and precios loved ones! I love to watch listen to your programs on 3ABN!
    Marguerite

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