Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.
The peace that Christ calls His peace, and which He bequeathed to His disciples, is not a peace which prevents all divisions; but it is a peace which is given and enjoyed in the midst of divisions. The peace that the faithful defender of the cause of Christ has is the consciousness that he is doing the will of God and reflecting His glory in good works. It is an internal rather than an external peace. Without are wars and fightings through the opposition of avowed enemies, and the coldness and suspicion of those even who claim to be friends.
Christ enjoins upon His followers to “love your enemies, … do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He would have us love those who oppress us and do us harm. We must not express in words and acts the spirit they manifest, but improve every opportunity to do them good.
But while we are required to be Christlike toward those who are our enemies, we must not, in order to have peace, cover up the faults of those we see in error. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, never purchased peace by covering iniquity, or by anything like compromise. Though His heart was constantly overflowing with love for the whole human race, He was never indulgent to their sins. He was too much their friend to remain silent while they were pursuing a course which would ruin their souls—the souls He had purchased with His own blood. He was a stern reprover of all vice, and His peace was the consciousness of having done the will of His Father, rather than a condition of things that existed as the result of having done His duty.
He labored that man should be true to himself in being all that God would have him, and true to his higher and eternal interest. Living in a world marred and seared with the curse brought upon it by disobedience, he [man] could not be at peace with it unless he left it unwarned, uninstructed, and unrebuked. This would be to purchase peace at the neglect of duty.
Everyone who loves Jesus and the souls for whom He died will follow after the things that make for peace. But His followers are to take special care lest in their efforts to prevent discord, the truth is surrendered, lest in warding off divisions, they make a sacrifice of its principles. True brotherhood can never be maintained by compromising principle. As surely as Christians approach the Christlike model, … so surely will they experience the strength and venom of that old serpent the devil.—Manuscript 23b, July 25, 1896, “How to Secure Peace.”
The Upward Look p. 220
—-Please pray for Terry as he is back in the hospital. Please pray for his spiritual as well as physical healing. Mike
—-Please pray that God will heal David.
Before my great-great-aunt Allie was married, she taught grade school for many years. Here is part of one of the poems she wrote about one of her students.
by Aletha Phillips-Spoor
Years ago I used to teach
In a little red brick school,
To forty little girls and boys
I taught the golden rule.
I did the best I could, but then
You know as well as I,
You can’t make all things perfect
However hard you try.
Most of my cares and worries
Were caused by two small boys,
Who teased the girls and came in late
And made a lot of noise.
In every barrel of apples,
You’ll always find a few
That contaminate the others’
So with children this is true.
One day these boys came tumbling in
At the last stroke of the bell,
Then from that old wall register
There came a dreadful smell.
“Limburger cheese!” cried Mary,
“Ray put it in,” said she;
Indignantly he shouted,
“‘Twas Jay—it wasn’t me!”
Now which of these two lads it was
I really couldn’t tell;
My first thought was to rid the room
Of that terrific smell.
I threw the windows open wide,
Thanked heaven for the breeze,
I shut the old wall register
But still we smelled that cheese.
I thought what if the principal
Should chance to happen in;
If she should smell that odor
And hear that awful din.
I found the problem hard to solve,
I couldn’t even guess,
For both lads looked so innocent
And neither would confess.
I threatened, coaxed, and scolded,
But in spite of all my pleas,
I couldn’t tell who brought to school
That awful smelling cheese.
Just as that limburger cheese permeated the schoolroom that long-ago day, so our influence impacts for good of for ill all with whom we come in contact. We might try to seem as innocent as Ray and Jay did so long ago, but others soon find out who we really are inside. By this influence we can lead those around us to stay on the right path or to stray from it. One little word can cause someone to start down the path that leads to destruction. Solomon’s proverb is as true today as it was when he uttered it. “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor.” Ecc 10:1
Our words and actions tell what is in our heart. Our Dear Saviour says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matt 12:34-37
How important it is, then, that we give our heart to Jesus each morning, that we may exert a right influence on those with whom we come in contact. Jesus, when He was upon this earth, had an attraction the drew people to Him. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38 When He was near, people felt loved, they felt accepted, they felt convicted of their sins, and desired to change for the better that they might do those things which pleased Him. (1 John 3:22)
Our Dear Saviour’s loving and kind influence was in direct contrast to that of the religious leaders who bound “heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and laid them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves would not move them with one of their fingers.” Matt 23:4 Jesus visited people in their homes, as well as on the mountainside, bringing them both physical and spiritual healing. He walked their streets pressed in by crowds of people all wanting to see Him, all wanting to touch Him. Even though most were there only for the excitement, or for the blessings He could bestow, He never turned them away. His influence even caused His enemies to marvel. When spies were sent to catch Him in His words, they declared, ” ‘Master, thou hast well said.’ And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.” Luke 20:39,40 When officers were sent to arrest Him, they returned to the Pharisees with the report, “Never man spake like this man.” John 7:46
May our influence lead others to our Dear Redeemer, drawing them closer to Him, that they may accept His free gift of salvation. May we daily pray, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Ps 19:14