How can a home bring peace to a neighborhood? There is a peace, a healthy state that we can find in Jesus. We can be safe and sound, able to rest and function at full capacity, complete, with our guilt removed, and free to enjoy life. Our God wants us to receive it and share it with others. We should understand this, pray for it, and work toward such a peace in ourselves, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our city. In this way we will pursue peaceful relationships inside our homes through forgiveness. Jesus motivates us to love neighbors by listening to them in an attempt to understand them and build relationships. This listening works best when we host people with food and offer to help them in what they’re doing. From this context we may create new personal relationships and repair broken ones. We will work toward natural peace and we will bring the spiritual peace of our God. Our homes will be a gathering place for our church family to grow. We will pray for our neighbors and our neighborhood. Our homes will bring peace to the neighborhood.
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” – Jesus in Matthew 5:9
“Search for peace and work to maintain it.” Psalm 34:14
“the Kingdom of God…is a life of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
“Work for the peace of the city…pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” v 7 Jeremiah 29:5-14
Take Action – Follow God in His Redemptive Work
“Father to the fatherless, defender, God places the lonely in families,” Psalm 68:3-6
“You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – Coach John Wooden They Call Me Coach by John Wooden & Jack Tobin
We must become willing to serve people, not for our own benefit, but for their benefit.
In writing about William Wilberforce who worked to end slavery in England Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr wrote, “One of the best ways to face this problem of self-centeredness is to discover some cause and some purpose, some loyalty outside of yourself and give yourself to that…you are then able to live because you have given your life to something that is meaningful…you rise above this self-absorption. We see that biography is a running commentary of this. We see Wilberforce. We see him somehow satisfying his desire, absorbing his life in the slave trade and those who are victims of the slave trade.” – Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr: Symbol of the Movement
We must live for a purpose greater than our own desires.
After the assassination of Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Mr. Rogers helped families learn that “there is just so much a child can take without it being overwhelming to him”. He trained them to listen to children, watch them play, observe how they are doing, and include them in the family’s particular “ways of coping with the problems that present themselves anytime but particularly now in this very difficult time for our nation.” After being concerned about how the TV show The Hulk would teach children to process their own anger he guided the show’s stars in communicating with children that, “it’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to let it out as long as we don’t hurt anybody and as long as we don’t hurt ourselves.” Mr. Rogers helped teach self-control. He said, “The good feeling of self-control is yet another facet of self-esteem. It feels really good when we can stop before doing something we shouldn’t do.”
In our neighborhoods there are families who need this sort of help.
Mr. Rogers wrote: “I sought out stories of other people who were ‘poor in spirit’, and I felt for them. I started to look behind the things that people did and said; and little by little, concluded that Saint Exupery was absolutely right; ‘What is essential is invisible to the eye.’ So, after a lot of sadness, I began a lifelong search for what is essential, what it is about my neighbor that doesn’t meet the eye.” Mr. Rogers Peaceful Neighbor by Michael Long
We must be listening, learning, and looking for a way to be helpful.
“The kind of peace shalom represents is active and engaged…Shalom is communal, holistic, and tangible. There is no private or partial shalom. The whole community must have shalom or no one has shalom…Shalom is not for the many, while a few suffer; nor is it for the few while many suffer.” – Randy Woodley Shalom and the Community of Creation
God’s peace is unique from your idea of peace.
“The church has the power to bring healing in a racially fragmented society. That power is not found in an emphasis on strength but in suffering and weakness. The difficult topic of racial reconciliation requires the intersection of celebration and suffering. The theology of celebration will always be more attractive than the theology of suffering. But if lament were offered to a suffering world, the hope that is woven into lament offers the possibility of genuine reconciliation.” – Soong-Chan Rah Prophetic Lament
God’s redemptive work will lead us away from self-centeredness and toward compassionate empathy in action.
“Love God with all you’ve got, and love your neighbor in the same way that you love yourself.” – Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40
In what way are they in need?
How does God want you to be a part of the solution?
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” Ephesians 5:1-2 “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5:10 “Be careful how you live.” Ephesians 5:15
Careful consideration before taking action requires wisdom. “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t – and even brag about their foolishness.” Proverbs 13:16
What do I see that doesn’t look like a God kind of peace?
How can the situation be brought into good health?
Is God asking me to get involved?
Do I understand the distinction between my opinion and what good health looks like from God’s perspective and their perspective?
4 areas of action: 1. Share 2. Give 3. Defend 4. Party
Share Compassion – come alongside, share the emotion, share the load (love by listening with an intent to understand)
Give what may help them come to a state of healthy wellbeing. “Anything I can do to help?”
Defend someone who is being mistreated ….ask questions “How do you know this to be true?” and confront the lie. Question stereotype statements.
Party Throw a party and invite a wide variety of people! Be friendly to everyone. Show love and respect.
“God, what’s the one thing that you want me to do this week?”
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
When you follow God into His redemptive work, you are aligning yourself with the heart of God, you are participating with the plan of God, you can know that you are not alone, you can know that God is the source, it’s not all up to you, and there will be peace in Jesus.