READ: Psalm 85, Hosea 14, Luke 13, 2 Corinthians 4
There is an intimacy of peace that results from being right with God and man. When our relationships are harmonious, all hell can be breaking out against us and yet we have the internal fortitude to stand strong. In order however for righteousness and peace to kiss, mercy and truth must also converge. The psalmist puts it this way: “Mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed” (Psalm 85:10). Truth without mercy kills and mercy without truth corrupts. True peace is not attained unless both truth and mercy are energetically involved.
In frontier mission the most common reason for workers to leave the field is conflict with team members, colleagues, or national leaders. It is not persecution or the scorn of the recalcitrant lost that keep us up at night–it is the tension and friction between those to whom we are yoked in ministry. The river of relational conflict has many streams: jealousy, insecurity, rebellion of the follower, arrogance of the leader, competition of the peer, diverse vision and personality, poor communication, and a multitude of other factors. There is no want to the number of issues that bring us into conflict with one another. Only when there is a wise blend of truth and mercy can our relationships be right and peaceful. Second Corinthians 4:2 gives us excellent counsel on how to preserve the intimacy of peace.
Renounce the Hidden Things. Transparency is such a refreshing gift to one another. We owe each other the honor of bringing our thoughts into the light. Because human nature tends to assume the worst or choose the worst possible meaning for an utterance, we need to deliberately have crucial conversations with one another that are grace-oriented in their factual integrity. And we need to have these conversations quickly. Keeping short accounts is academic to peaceful relationships.
Don’t Walk in Craftiness. Unfortunately Christians and Christian organizations are not immune to posturing and politics. Relationally we need to become simpler, not more complex. Much of what passes for relational skill is simply manipulation, and manipulation is the devil’s work. Guilelessness is a lost discipline. We choose to be crafty when we can choose to be simple, unguarded, and vulnerable. This choice is costly as the guileless are often misunderstood to be ambitious.
Don’t Handle the Word of God Deceitfully, But Manifest Truth. Those who know the Word of God best are often those who twist it most skillfully. No minister of the gospel is exempt from wrenching a proof text out of context in self-defense. We must be ruthless with ourselves, that we serve the Scriptures–not enslave them.
Peace is in our hands: If we walk in mercy and truth, peace will kiss us.