How easily street demonstrations escalate into brutal bashings. All because people are so insistent on their opinions, their ways are the only way. If it takes violence then many chose it.
The Christian faith has not avoided this reputation. How often have we heard reminders about the Crusades or Inquisition, and really this is only the beginning of our questionable history. Too often the Christian faith has carried an air of superiority and as a result it has been aggressive and arrogant in its attempts to spread its gospel.
Is that the only way? Was this Jesus way? When the time came for him to encourage his disciples to share in ministry with him, he does present a model of evangelism, ministry, discipleship. Far from the aggressive confrontational approach we have sometimes seen from overly enthusiastic people.
Have you ever been confronted by the overly confident narrow opinionated person with blinkered vision. It’s not pleasant to be confronted self righteously or aggressively.
The story we read in the gospel of Jesus instructions to his followers could be called the peace model. For these early followers he certainly anticipated plenty of engagement with people, but he encourages a peaceful demeanor of his message carriers. He instructs them to go in the simplest way possible. No coat, no bag, but equipped simply with a preparedness to share a message…
But the telling factor was to go with a simple heart, greet anybody with a friendly demeanour. If they in return display a peaceful demeanor then enjoy the exchange. As they listen, so you likewise listen. If people are not interested don’t be fussed. Move further along the way until you find someone with a similar peaceful demeanor that you may have an amicable exchange of stories.
Jesus instructs his people to neither be fussed by rejection, or need to force your self on others. Figuratively speaking he instructs them to wipe the dust from off their feet. It appears to be like a defiant sign, but I’m inclined to see it emphasizing the need to carry no baggage from you rejection.
Bear no grudge. The King of Peace wants us to be his children of peace. This is very far removed from the combative street clashes we are witnessing where people are wanting to jam their point down another’s throat.
IN OUR DAY
Modern society has heard the story so many times and witnessed the failings and hypocrisy of its members so often, that it has shunned our message. And familiarity breeds contempt. I wonder how Jesus would instruct us to be his people in our day.
In his day there were new villages to visit to share the story with new people. In our day there are different challenges. In our day there are people of all faith traditions with whom we can engage that they may get to know a Christ like soul.
KNOWING ONES STORY
I believe it is highly valuable to know our own story. How would you speak of the way your faith has grown in your life over the years. As simple as our story may prove to be. I believe one of the most significant ways for us to be a channel of the divine love is in the way we listen to people. The more attentively we listen to others the more deeply the message of love touches the soul.
It is not by might or power, aggression or smart argument. Not by throwing recited scripture passages one after the other at people. It is by reflecting upon what Jesus might mean for us to be Children of peace.