Seeking peace

The Guardian has an interesting article on the downside to social networking. But it doesn’t focus on the more blatant dangers we hear about, such as stalkers, immorality or the loss of privacy. It’s focus is on the subtle but profound effect of life on the Net to how we think.

Information comes so quick these days that it is possible to become addicted to its flow. We used to use the term news junkie rather lightheartedly, but these days the pace of headlines is so great that I am certain that following it actually can become a physical addiction affecting the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

I’ve traditionally been a prolific commenter to news articles, and I had my Facebook/Twitter period. But lately, I find myself being much choosier about when I add my thoughts. I often step back and watch the counterpoint, and I realize that precious few are really communicating with one another.

And why should that surprise, when all one has to do is turn on cable news and find the same dynamic among our politicians and pundits? The whole nation is divided, with both sides talking past each other.

It’s necessary that we speak out, but we have to be careful not to fall into the mire of a fallen and degenerate culture. Nothing good will come from doing the world’s business the world’s way. We have a higher and more effective calling.

James tells us that the seeds of righteousness are sown in peace. And lately, I’ve been craving – I mean, really craving – peace in my heart. I want to have an intimate relationship with the Lord, and that cannot happen if I fill all my time with the mad rush of social networking and current events that is constantly changing its face and yet underlyingly always the unfruitful same.

Peace is stressed repeatedly in the Bible. Jesus gave His disciples a peace that, because it was not dependent on circumstances, could not be taken away. The great theologian, Paul, shows how we have peace with God through Christ, and then exhorts us to let that peace reign in our hearts. When he says we should “seek peace and pursue it”, that’s not mere parallelism. Paul is saying to first look for the ways of peace, and then upon finding them, to follow after them with everything we’ve got.

The repetitive emphasis on finding and pursuing peace screams to us one essential implication: though the peace of Christ cannot be taken from us by the world, we ourselves can yield it up if we do not attend to it. It is our responsibility to place God first and to guard what He has given.

In fact, James tells us that there is only one thing more important than peace – truth. We should never do violence to truth in order to win peace. That would make us appeasers, fearing man and looking out for ourselves. There is a world of difference between peacekeepers and peacemakers.

If you find yourself caught up in anything that is not bringing you peace, it may be time to evaluate and inquire whether the Lord is in it with you.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.

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