It was an appreciative audience the old man had, as he stood in the middle of the park, ranting and raving against a particular community. “How well he speaks!” said a spectator standing nearby.
“How would you have reacted if he spoke for, and not against that community?” I asked quietly.
“I would have listened!” said the man quietly, “Because he speaks well and convincingly!”
The old man who spoke so eloquently was a Christian, and the community he spoke against was one which has become the centre of much physical and verbal abuse in our country.
Sadly, it has become fashionable to talk against them. I met the speaker later, “What an opportunity you missed,” I said, “Of being a Christian!”
“I am a Christian, Bob,” he said, showing me a cross that hung round his neck, “It’s always there to show people I am one!”
“Hidden inside your shirt!” I chuckled, “When you could have lifted Jesus off your neck and higher today!”
“But we’re not supposed to talk about Him,” said the man clutching his crucifix fearfully, “I could be arrested for forcible conversion!”
“Forcible conversion!” I laughed, “No one asked you to preach, but you could have talked peace, instead of violence!”
The man put his head down, “You mean I had the chance of being a peacemaker and I blew it?”
We walked round the park together and he finally agreed we had a responsibility in our country to become peacemakers between communities, not rabble rousers!
What an opportunity presents itself to us today in our societies, offices, trains, buses and elsewhere in imposing our presence as peacemakers! To stop untoward talk. Disagreeing with a communal joke and for creating occasions for members of both communities to get to know each other.
I hear a voice and see Jesus on the Mount, eyes blazing with fervor saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers!” strongly and forcefully, “for they will be called the sons of God!” I lean forward, listen closely, He doesn’t say, ‘Blessed are the peaceful’!
He doesn’t say, ‘Blessed are the peacekeepers!’
But His blessings are for those who can enforce a peace! Those who can urge peace into unrest!
It’s our duty. It’s Biblical. And there’s a blessing attached to it!
It’s a simple message I pen today but as I prayed about this column and wanted to choose a fancier topic, something pushed me to write different. I end with a quote from Exodus, “Do not join a crowd that intends to do evil….do not be swayed in your talk by the opinion of the majority.”
Jesus didn’t. As His followers, we shouldn’t!
There’s an opportunity today to lift Him higher from the crucifix round your neck, or from the cross on your chain and be blessed, as you bring healing to a troubled nation..!
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