Shameful peace

I’m a pacifist, I always have been. I don’t believe in violence, or guns, or war, and although I feel like this is something to be proud of, I often feel ashamed to admit it. Any time I mention my incline to peace I feel like I’m at an AA meeting “Hello I’m Fiona, and I’m a pacifist. My last act of peace was two days ago.’ People call me naive, ignorant, and misguided. Each time I get put down I find it that little bit harder to stand back up again, to fight (figuratively) for what I believe in. I get called ‘hippy’ as if it were a dirty word, whispered behind hands, and this is by all sorts of people, even those in my own church. And honestly I don’t get it. As Christians we should be encouraging peace, attempting to live life more ethically, leading by example, instead we shun those that strive for it.

The Bible constantly teaches us to be peaceful ‘Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.’ Psalm 34:14.  A love of God, of Jesus, means to love one another, to find compassion within ourselves and spread it among our communities. To live a life of forgiveness (though easier said than done) should be high on our list of priorities, that means not retaliating to those who torment us, loving those who hurt us, accepting those who disagree with us. Don’t get me wrong, I really struggle with it, trying to understand those who have been a cause of pain can be incredibly difficult, and often I fail. Not only do I fail to accept those who have wronged me, I’m sure I have wronged others. I lose my temper and have been a source of pain, but I continue in my strive towards peace. I don’t understand when, as a church, we turn from those who sin, and those who are different, we should embrace those that struggle, not abandon them. We should ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.’ Proverbs 31:8. I strongly believe that we are put on this earth to love one another, but how can we do so when we hold onto so much hate and anger? As a collective, Christians can be proud, and often prejudiced against others, and this needs to stop. We should be a voice for justice, not just a witness of it.

Recently, at my church, we learnt about the five areas of ministry: Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, Apostles, and Teachers, how you need people from each category for a church to work well. Ephesian 4:11-13 ‘11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’

I learnt that my area is that of a prophet; not in the sense that I can predict the future, as amazing as that would be, or even that I’ll say anything profound or important, but in the sense that I question the future, the path that is going to be taken. I have a strong sense of morals and I challenge those in authority who appear to stray, or struggle to see the which way to go. Working within Tearfund is a great way to travel this road, but in other aspects of life it can be incredibly difficult.  Generally people tend to steer clear of a prophet, in the Bible they were often tortured and killed, people don’t like to be told how to act, and personally, I hate confrontation. At first I tried to deny it, I didn’t want to take this path, but the more I thought about it, the more I prayed about it, the more I realised this was the journey God was telling me to take. To use my beliefs and passion for peace to fight for God’s justice. It’s time for me to stop being ashamed of peace and embrace it as part of God’s plan.

Though I had never given it much thought in the past, I firmly believe that it’s worth taking time to talk to God about your own area of ministry, it can be a powerful way to discern your next step and is important in knowing who you are in the eyes of God. Talk to the elders or ministers in your church to find out more.

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