“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” vs. 34
There are many who wish that Matthew had not bothered to include these words of Jesus in his gospel. They’re disquieting and harsh, especially to those who love harmony in daily living. Frankly it would be nice if we could just take scissors to these verses and excise them from the text, something that Thomas Jefferson actually did in his personal version of the gospels. The problem is that it’s important for us to hear what Jesus had to say, even if we don’t like what he said. He’s obviously not talking about arming his disciples and having them carry weapons as a part of their mission. But he is saying that our obsession with harmony in relationships can keep us from our call to speak the truth in the course of our ministries. In our efforts to be nice and inoffensive we bite our tongues and ignore comments and behaviors that we know in our hearts are wrong. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being on good terms with family and friends, but harmony can never be the highest value for followers of Jesus. That doesn’t mean seeing how many folks we can get to “unfriend” us on Facebook–being offensive is no virtue in itself! But our integrity as Christians demands truthfulness, and possibly alienating someone that we love.
Thought for the Day: Which is more important to me, being “nice” or honest?