I’m thinking that a primary aspect of a peaceable life has been lost to us through however many years passing up to this year of 2007. We have lost our ability to be patient and to bear with one another through times of trouble and disagreement.
This post is very wordy, I know. Just don’t have the time to tighten it up.
We have also lost our perspective concerning time. All things must be resolved, NOW. We must defeat our enemies, NOW. We must force through our pet legislation, NOW. We must purge from our churches those people and their beliefs that we perceive as apostate and heretical, NOW. We must make everyone Westernized and love democracy NOW. No compromise.
I made a comment on TItusonenine yesterday about realizing that God’s truth will be realized in time, particularly concerning the whole gay issue within Anglicanism that we’ve been fighting over for the past three years and whether this “innovation” is of God or just apostasy. This can be applied to all the theological “innovations” that are sweeping through The Episcopal Church right now. I read in Acts yesterday morning about Gamilial and his recommendation to the Sanhedrin that they should just wait and see what happens to these followers of Jesus and the “troubles” they were causing. Gamilial gave two examples of earlier men and their movements and how once the leader was killed, the movement died. He said that the leaders of Israel should just wait – if this man Jesus is like the others, then his movement will die now that he is dead. If this is truly a move of God, then the members of the Sanhedrin will find themselves fighting against God and will surely lose. Being this way, taking this attitude, is risking and impatient and fearful people cannot do it. The leaders of Israel did not head Gamilial’s advice.
A women responded and said that if these theological and practical “innovations” were the work of the Holy Spirit then all the controversy should have died down by now. Since it hasn’t, then it can’t be a move of the Holy Spirit. Three years? Her perspective and her allowance of time for consideration and resolution have been shrunk to three years. What can be said?
We no longer want to use persuasion to convince others of the supposed superiority of our position or argument, because that takes to much time. We revert to coercion to get our way.
When the time frame for change shrinks from centuries or decades or years to NOW, we loose perspective and we begin to see other human beings only as obstacles to achieving our wants or goals. We lose the ability to be patient, kind, and generous. We are no longer willing to bear with one another as we work through problems together, so we lose the whole concept of iron-sharpens-iron and instead seek to simply impose our will on all others because that way is more expedient. This dynamic is born out in all our perspectives – liberal or conservative – it is a problem of our time, period.
What this also means is that the challenges to our arguments are ignored or put down and the veracity of our arguments is impoverished. There is no longer any need to think through our ideas, to consider possible problems with our thought processes or our plans. Our perspective shrinks to the now, to achieving our end goal now and the means are of little consideration.
That which is truly significant is worthy of taking the time to persuade, to bear with those who disagree, to listen and consider problems in our own thoughts and goals, and to see that the end of our efforts may well be realized far beyond our lifetimes. As much as we want resolution and satisfaction NOW, possibly because we are so overwhelmed with daily life and cannot take the effort needed to persuade and bear with one another, true and honest solutions to our problems will only come with time, patience, and forbearance. A peaceable life only comes after honest peace is achieved.
We do not take the time to understand the Arab cultures and Islamic religious followers. We do not take the time for careful diplomacy and persuasion. We do not take the time for careful planning nor listening to those with differing opinions concerning things like, well, what happens after we topple a dictator. We would rather coerce nations and states to do as we see fit, because of course we know best.
We don’t take the time to persuade those who disagree with our biblical interpretation or understanding of tradition or our reasoning behind our position. We do not take the time to bear with the weaker brother, or to pray and allow God to work out His will, or to allow for the fact that our perspectives could be wrong. It takes too much time to understand the position of our “enemy” to where we could argue their point as well as our own, to walk in their shoes, if you will. It all takes too much time and effort. Just do as I say, NOW! I’m right and don’t challenge me!
All this does is bread contempt, hubris, and oppression. We need to bear with one another in love. Our time perspective needs to be elongated. We need to heed to the process of time and make every effort to persuade, not coercive. If the veracity of our argument is true and deep and sure, it will prevail. It will prevail over time, even if not NOW.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14