Sunday, November 8, 2015

WMTRBW: Week 11: From Ugliness, A Beauty Emerges

This week, we are reading about violence.  According to Brian McLaren, violence is “an act that intends to violate the well-being of a person or people”. We examine Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments to understand God’s “stance” on violence.  The author first points us to Deuteronomy 7:1-11 to argue the God of the Old Testament, as understood by Old Testament writers, is one of death and destruction and then to Matthew 15:21-39 to show God wants to pour out mercy on ALL people.

Perhaps, though, the author should be pointing us to Joshua 5:13 (NIV), where Joshua asks the following of a commander of the Lord’s army, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” The commander’s response: “Neither.”

Instead of asking questions such as,
(a) Is God willing to harm others to help some?
(b) Is God part of the violence in the world, and is violence part of God?
(c) Is God asking us to move beyond violence, in kindness, reconciliation, and peace?

We should be asking, “WHOSE side are WE on”?  Are we for ourselves or are we for God? Not an “us vs them” question, but “all of us” moving together question. Then we will move toward peace, kindness, and reconciliation.

Jesus’ mission on this earth was for ALL people, not just the Israelites.  He is the God of all people, but not all people knew Him as their God. I don’t believe it was a surprise that the Canaanite woman asked for healing for her daughter, in Matthew 15:21-39. Jesus simply uses this as an opportunity to invite ALL people to be “us”. 

It is indeed a spiritual battle we are fighting, not one against each other. 

Think about your own life. Pick a situation where you feel like it is “us” vs “them”.  Now, view your situation as if it is “all of us” in a spiritual battle, where we all actually need to work together to find a way to move forward toward healing.  How would that change your perception of your situation, knowing God isn’t taking sides? He wants us all to be working together, looking to Him and working toward healing.

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