A few days ago I saw a Facebook post that grabbed my attention with its headline: Atheist tells a girl, “There is no God.” He went silent when she said this…
This clickbait article was shared by a pastor I know, and it had all these likes and comments cheering on this fictitious little girl who put the atheist in his place as she shut him up with intelligence and whit.
But is that the point? Are we really supposed to burn and drop the mic on everyone we disagree?
In the beatitudes, Jesus shows us a different way when he says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Jesus practiced what he preached because when Jesus spoke this peace was hardly on anyone’s minds. On one side of the divide you had the conquering Roman who believed in the power of their military to keep the Roman Peace. On the other side of the divide, you had the Zealots, a Jewish sect committed to starting a holy war with the Romans they thought would bring about peace.
Jesus begins inviting disciples to follow him and does the most unexpected thing. He invited Matthew, a tax collector for the Romans, and Simon the Zealot. It’s not hard to imagine these two men exchanging arguments, and probably some punches, as they sat around a fire at night and discussed their differences. But imagine them also sitting across from each other when Jesus said this:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be called children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Try praying for someone without ever hearing a word they have to say. Try loving someone when you can’t bear to hear a word they say.
Peacemaking isn’t about saying you’re right and I’m wrong, it’s the art of actually listening before you speak.