One Nation?? Under God?? Indivisible??
Would you have ever thought that the “United” States could be so terribly divided, antagonistic, and determined to fight over the simplest of areas of disagreement? No group is ever totally in lock-step unity, but we have, to some degree in the past, allowed our differences to be secondary to the primary desire to live united. The nation today is segmented by so many various categories that we can lose friends over our church affiliation, political views, football team, family issues, or fitness status.
The more earnestly we hold to a position, the less we are willing to compromise and cooperate with others. That is not a bad thing with moral issues or truly spiritual (not to be confused with preferential) convictions. We fully endorse absolutes and expect compliance with those “non-negotiables” in proper medical care, operation of an airplane on which we are transported, protection of our children in schools, veracity and integrity among Christians, and other such vitally important segments of life.
In earlier times, men would take disagreements “outside” to fight each other. Whoever was the toughest and could whip his opponent physically was the winner of the debate!
In earlier times in this nation, mountain people lived by their own code of ethics. What may have seemed strange to outsiders was perfectly normal in the out-of-the-way communities that were cut off from so much of the rest of the surrounding areas.
An aged, gray-haired, and very-wrinkled old woman, arrayed in the outlandish calico costume of the mountains, was summoned as a witness in court to tell what she knew about a fight in her house. She took the witness-stand with evidences of backwardness and proverbial Bourbon verdancy. The Judge asked her in a kindly voice what took place. She insisted it did not amount to much, but the Judge by his persistency finally got her to tell the story of the bloody fracas.
“Now, I tell ye, Jedge, it didn’t amount to nuthn’. The fust I knowed about it was when Bill Saunder called Tom Smith a liar. Then, Tom knocked him down with a stick o’ wood. One o’ Bill’s friends then cut Tom with a knife, slicin’ a big chunk out o’ him. Then Sam Jones, who was a friend of Tom’s, shot the other feller and two more shot him, and three or four others got cut right smart by somebody. That ‘nachly caused some excitement, Jedge, then they commenced fightin’.” (Copied).
Over and over in God’s Word we are admonished to live as people pursuing peace. The more we draw near to Christ, the more we can function as peacemakers. It was Jesus that encouraged us in that role when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matt.5:9). Paul also called us to live at peace with those around us….Romans 12:18 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
“Lord, please fill us anew with your peace that we may be men of peace ‘so far as it depends on us’.”