Protected by thick walls, the city of Jericho was under lockdown. Heavily armed the people of Jericho waited in ambush, prepared to attack. Clearly, the Israelites were at a disadvantage. Their army could be easily shot down from behind the city walls. On the evening before the battle Israel’s military leader Joshua decided to take a closer look at the perimeter of the city. He then noticed a man with a drawn sword in his hand. So Joshua approached the man and asked (Joshua 5:13-14):
“‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’
‘Neither,’ he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’”
We often falsely assume that God takes sides. We are mistaken. When asked on whose side he is on, the angel of the Lord said in no uncertain terms: ‘Neither side.’ In other words, God is for every person on this planet. Preferential treatment is foreign to Him. He loves all people.
With this in mind it is easy to see that pursuing peace in controversy is important to God. In all disputes remember that the Lord is impartial. He is for both sides and pursues what is in the best interest for all parties involved. This especially applies to the body of Christ. Can you imagine Christ’s body torn apart? It’s not a pretty sight and yet this is the result of a family feud. When children of God attack each other they are hurting the body of Christ – or to put it in more personal terms, they are hurting Christ. I don’t think anyone wants to do such a thing, unless of course we hate Jesus.
On a completely different note: How boring would the world be if we agreed on everything? Praise the Lord for open-mindedness! Could you imagine where we would be without curious and exploring people questioning the status quo? Let us be thankful for those questions, thankful for conflict arising out of these questions and thankful to God who guides us through the mystery and gives us peace in the midst of the unknown.
May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts – and let’s be thankful that we have each other.