Tuesday Re-mix –
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:17-18
Do you remember getting on your parents’ nerves by fighting with your brother or sister in the backseat of the car? And do you remember your mom or dad finally getting fed up and saying something like, “Don’t make me stop this car…”. I understand this sentiment much better now that I have been a parent. For me (both as a child and as a parent), these words were the last clear communication before someone gets in big, big trouble. Because once that car got stopped… hoo-boy.
I really believe that is a close sentiment to what God feels when His children get all tangled up in conflict with each other. I believe that, when we start hurting each other, God feels a real urge to intervene. And I believe that, if God decides to intervene, ALL parties to the conflict will regret it.
Surely, this is why so much of Paul’s writings to the New Testament church were devoted to how we relate to one another. Paul knew what all of us must learn:that you cannot be on mission with God and be living in discord with God’s people. And I have begun to see that being on mission with God is the only way to follow Christ. There is no other way to follow Christ. If you are following, you are on mission.
Virtually every letter Paul wrote to any New Testament church (Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, Corinthians, Romans, Thessalonians) contained specific instructions about getting along with each other. If we are going on this journey, we must behave. Those are the rules.
So, when you hear God turn and say, “Don’t make me stop this car”, my advice is to change your behavior immediately. I don’t know what happens if He does stop the car, but I am certain we won’t like it.