Michael Jordan of morality?

Here's my final installment of MCC's "peace is a choice" reflections:

Live peace...as Jesus did.

Jesus was frequently in dangerous situations - he was honest in confronting injustice where he encountered it - yet Jesus chose peace, he chose to accept risk to himself rather than responding with violence. He healed people of disabilities, diseases, he healed them emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually. He was a friend to criminals, outsiders, and outcasts. He taught people how to respond to violence in non-violent ways. He offered love to his enemies. Jesus didn't just choose peace...he lived peace. You can live it too.

"Blessed are the peaceamakers, for they will be called children of G0d." -Jesus

A few words of response:

I don't think we can ignore the example of Jesus loving those around him nonviolently - "living peace." Yes, I'm one of those nonviolent - "love and nonresistance" - Christians. Yet I come to the end of this reflection and wonder how can I "live it too"? I mean, seriously, Jesus was Jesus, the Son of God, God incarnate. I'm not.

"You can live it too" is in danger of sounding more like a NIKE commercial, somehow believing peace will become reality on allure itself - "Just DO IT". In way, Jesus becomes more like the Michael Jordan of morality. But as we know, appreciating Michael Jordan's amazing example of athleticism doesn't make a good basketball player. Even wearing his shoes doesn't make a good basketball player. Likewise, just talking about Jesus' example and trying to emulate it, doesn't make a peacemaker. We need more.

Thankfully, Jesus does offer more than a snazzy commercial or a cool shoe (or sandal in his case). As followers of Jesus, we don't just copy him; we're empowered by him. Specifically, our discussion of living out peace needs to acknowledge the role of the Holy Spirit. To live peace is to "live by the Spirit." So I'll close with this:

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Gal. 5:13-26 NIV)


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