Thursday, September 12, 2019

Peace Without Compromise

     At the start of the Civil War and throughout both sides, the North and South claimed to be in the right.  Both sides prayed for God's help and providence to secure victory.  Abraham Lincoln commented on this paradox with these words,  "In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the Will of God.  Both may be, but one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time."  He later added these words, "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.  It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask for a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces... The prayers of both cannot be answered."

     In this day and age, just as in previous times, certain words come into vogue.  Some of those so called 'buzz' words are words like: tolerance, inclusion, acceptance.  Such words are meant to communicate to the general public the notion that truth is relative, and everyone's beliefs and behaviors are just as right and true as anyone else's.  It has been argued by some, that all religions are at their core fundamentally the same and only superficially different from Christianity.   However, the Bible would clearly show the exact opposite.  The Teachings of Christ and who Christ is, are at their core, fundamentally different from the other religions, and only superficially the same compared to the other faiths.

     Lincoln at the beginning of his presidency attempted to placate and compromise with the demands of the South. However, their came a point in the conflict that slavery could no longer be ignored, there could be no compromise.  The end of Slavery was one of those fundamental truths that could not be accepted, tolerated, or included in a Free United States.  As much as Lincoln wanted to keep the peace between North and South, he could not compromise what he knew was right.  He tried, but conflict still came.

     In his Letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts, "Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."  Ro. 12:17,18.  We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are called to love and pursue peace with all men. However, loving and pursuing peace does not mean abandoning the Truth of who Jesus is, nor compromising the message of His Gospel,  "I am the way the truth, the life, no man comes to the Father except through me." Jn. 14:6.  As much as the World would want the Church to accept, tolerate, and include every type of behavior and every religious doctrine... we cannot. Sadly, because of our determined stand for Christ, conflict comes.
When Jesus asked His disciples if they were going to stop following Him, our hearts echo Peter's response to Jesus, "Master, where will we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have come to know and believe, that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God."  Jn. 6:68,69

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