We live in divisive times. Turn on the news or browse social media, and it seems like everyone is at each other’s throats over political issues. Debates rage over topics like the economy, immigration, social policies, and so many other areas where people have contrasting viewpoints. It’s easy to get caught up in the anger and hostility.

However, as followers of Jesus, we are called to a different way – the way of peace. This doesn’t mean shying away from important issues or failing to stand up for what we believe is right. But it does mean engaging in a spirit of peace rather than violence, anger or retaliation. We wage spiritual battles, not earthly ones.

The Example of Jesus
When Jesus was arrested and faced politically-motivated accusations, his disciples were ready to fight. Peter actually drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the servant’s of the high priest (John 18:10). You can imagine Peter’s shock when Jesus rebuked him, saying “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)

To Peter and the other disciples, it probably seemed like the natural response was to take up arms and battle the forces coming against their leader. But Jesus had other plans. His kingdom was “not of this world” and therefore did not operate by the world’s standards of violence and retribution (John 18:36). His ways are higher than our ways.

Jesus operated from a completely different reality – the reality of the Kingdom of God. His primary allegiance was to that Kingdom and to accomplishing God’s eternal purposes, not the temporary political games of this world. Though injustice was occurring, his response was one of supernatural peace and non-violence.

The Upside-Down Kingdom
The ways of the Kingdom of God often seem upside-down and counterintuitive compared to the world’s ways. Jesus said the humble will be exalted and the poor are blessed. He said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). The Kingdom way is to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

This upside-down wisdom applies to how we engage with politics as well. While we absolutely should be involved in civic processes and causing, we have to be very careful that we don’t get consumed by the world’s methods. The anger, vitriol and personal attacks that constantly get hurled around are not the ways of the Kingdom.

We may feel passionate about policies and ideologies, but we have to express that passion with love and peace. We cannot fight fire with fire and return insult for insult. As the old saying goes, “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). It’s okay to disagree, but we must do so respectfully and honorably.

Speaking Truth in Love
Of course, this doesn’t mean compromising truth or going along with everything society says is acceptable. Jesus said his purpose was to “testify to the truth” (John 18:37). As ambassadors of the Kingdom, we have a responsibility to represent truth and shed light in the darkness around us.

However, we must speak that truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We can stand firm in our convictions without stooping to the level of insults or personal attacks. We can engage with the world while still letting our”conversation be full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6). It really is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.

It starts with our attitudes and keeping the right perspective. When we recognize that our true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), we won’t get quite so riled up about earthly politics. We can work for good without buying into the world’s system of conflict and retaliation.

The people around us should see something different in how we conduct ourselves – especially in how we engage with thorny topics like politics. As frustrating as it can be when we think certain policies or ideologies are misguided, our response should be one of grace and peace, not anger and hostility.

It’s Not Easy
To be clear, this path of peace is not easy. It’s completely natural to want to fight back when we perceive injustice or feel our values are being trampled on. Our fallen human nature wants to lash out and hurt those who hurt us. It’s a constant battle against our flesh.

But Jesus calls us to the higher way – the way of the Kingdom. It’s a path of non-violence, love for enemies, and overcoming evil through the supernatural power of peacemaking. It means pouring water on fiery arguments instead of gasoline. It requires laying down our swords and refusing to enter into the petty feuds and insults that the world loves to engage in.

Does this mean compromising truth or being silent in the face of injustice? Absolutely not. Jesus himself boldly spoke truth to power, even when it meant making enemies of the religious and political elite. We have to stand firm in representing the values and ethics of the Kingdom.

What it does mean is engaging in that fight the way Jesus did – with spiritual weapons, not earthly ones. We walk the path of peace, even when it seems counterintuitive to the ways of the fallen world around us. This is one of the most powerful ways we can bear witness to the upside-down wisdom of the Kingdom.

In these polarized times, may we followers of Jesus be known as a people of peace who “make every effort to do what leads to peace” (Romans 14:19). May our lives bear witness to a “Kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28). And may we have a powerful impact on the world around us by conducting ourselves with grace, truth, and love. Through the spiritual discipline of peacemaking, we can confront lies, injustice and sin while still representing the character of the Prince of Peace himself.

Here are 4 questions with scripture references related to the blog post:

1. How did Jesus respond when his disciples were ready to fight those arresting him? (John 18:10-11)

2. What did Jesus say about his kingdom not being of this world? (John 18:36)

3. What does Proverbs 15:1 say about the power of a gentle answer?

4. According to Ephesians 4:15, how are we called to speak the truth?

Check out our website for more information. We always welcome new friends to worship with us. Find a location that’s close to you!
You can learn more about our beliefs and visit our video library to explore more topics like this one. You can also check out our events page to find out what fun new things we’re doing this season.

About the Author: Tony Johnson
Tony Johnson is the lead pastor of 2|42 Community Church where he is helping people take next steps with God. Prior to his time at 2|42, Tony served for 15 years in various capacities within the Methodist denomination. He has degrees in broadcasting and marketing from Vincennes University and Ball State University, and he’s also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. Tony is passionate about helping people discover and embrace their God-given purpose and potential. In his spare time, you can find Tony cheering on the Miami Dolphins or camping and fishing with his family.

Subscribe to get the latest messages

Leave A Comment