Many of you have shared with me how much The Peace Maker has meant to you. I believe it goes without saying how God has used it to impact our church, but I also wanted to take a moment and share with you a major impact it has made in my life. The Peace Maker has taken an enemy, something that no one could possibly like, and has allowed me to make it my friend. This friend is one I have rarely spoken about - a friend that at one time was a despised enemy by me, and to be honest, an enemy to most of the readers of this blog. He is often ugly, he doesn’t smell pleasant by any stretch of the imagination and he is older than anyone I know. I must confess I hear from him less and less by decisions I have made through the years, but many times when I see him I cringe! He pops up at the most inappropriate times and in fact, words things in a way that many times, they are far fetched at best, and often outright lies. When he speaks the truth, seldom does it drip with grace and love - most of the time it is with a desire to belittle or even hurt. This troll looking individual hung out with Moses, Jeremiah, Jesus, Paul, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon and I suppose, most any believer attempting to walk with God. Each handled him differently, but most of them handled him as a dear friend (but always keeping him in his rightful place). Christ spoke about this “little friend” that would be with His followers by saying in Luke 6:26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you….” Or Charles Spurgeon said that every Pastor must have “One blind eye and one deaf ear.” Martin Luther would agree with the enemy as he hurled accusations against him. Paul had this friend follow him in most of the places he preached - in fact he would go before him to prepare the way! What made these men so strong in their faith and bold in their words was, in part, because of the friend called CRITICISM. Now, I must confess I limit his access; I do not read anonymous letters (they never make it to me), I block message boards and other sites because I can not stop the heathen from raging. But when something comes to me, I must recognize God’s sovereignty and see this little “troll” as a friend, or as an enemy. If I see him as an enemy, I will recoil, attack, become bitter and lose sleep. But if I see him as a friend, I will see him as someone who enables me to depend on the grace of God, who drives me to the cross of Christ. To one who embraces this visitor, whether he comes bearing truth or lies, it will cause him to learn more about God’s sovereignty. As a matter of fact, he can even use it to determine if he is going the right direction - for if the enemy hurls accusations, one must be doing something right. The truth is, we need this friend - I need this friend! For how many of us ever get a glimpse of suffering in America? How many of us are ever persecuted for truth? We will not be imprisoned at the present time - we will not be tortured, so how can I identify with Him and hold to the promise that we will suffer? How can I know if I love Him if the world is always cheering me on? Oh, as we are nearing an end to this incredible study of The Peacemaker, may God allow all of us to see this ugly little thing called criticism as a welcomed friend. If all men speak well of you, that my friend is when you should lose sleep!
Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets .