15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.
To help you better understand how you can help your spouse or other relationship partner (as well as friends and co-workers), Pastor Hamilton recommends these two resources:
Paul went on from the words we read yesterday to tell the Colossian Christians, “The peace of Christ must control your hearts.” He wrote that to people who lived in a world at least as cruel and unsettling as ours, perhaps more so. That Greco-Roman world casually discarded friends and lovers, and often showed its Christian citizens hatred, violence and scorn. Paul’s counsel about peace, praise and gratitude was a survival manual for people who lived in a spiritual “combat zone.”
King Jesus, help me to be a thankful person no matter what comes my way today. Let your peace more and more control my heart and my words. Amen.
* Peterson, Eugene H. The Message Numbered Edition Hardback. Navpress. Kindle Edition.
As we consider today’s passage, I thought it might be helpful to “visit” with Anne Thrope, founder of G.R.I.N.C.H (Grumps who like to Refute, Inflame, Nag, Criticize, & Harp).
DL: Miss Thrope, thanks for your time. Tell me about your organization.
Miss Anne Thrope: Our club’s membership includes people who are in a constant state of disappointment & dismay when their high standards for their friends, family, or fellow community members are not met. As one member noted, “My expectations for humanity are so low, I now look both ways at a round-about.”
DL: I see that your Yelp rating was 0 out of 5 stars. That’s pretty poor.
Miss Anne Thrope: Are you kidding? It’s great! It means we are definitely hitting our target audience of people who are bitter & like to complain. (I loved our member’s Yelp review of his SpaceX flight: “Good food, but no atmosphere.”)
DL: Has COVID been a challenge for your group?
Miss Anne Thrope: At first we were super concerned. 85% of our traffic was cataloging complaints about the office place – you know, people who warm up Brussels sprouts in the office break-room microwave or folks who constantly use the speakerphone, even when speaking with their podiatrist
But then a new market opened up. Everyone was spending so much time at home, that we started getting even more traffic with folks griping about their spouses & other family members for things like stealing that leftover Minsky’s pizza slice, wearing a coat & tie with sport shorts, or even typing “too loudly.” Add in the complaints about masking (wearing them or not wearing them) & vaccines (getting them or not getting them), & you could definitely say that the COVID era will be remembered fondly by our organization.
DL: But this isn’t a sustainable trend. Fortunately, the Apostle Paul has some suggestions to help people get out of this grousing grind & heal relationships.
Miss Anne Thrope: Please. We don’t need some Polly-Anna Do-Gooder telling us that life is awesome. I bet with 10 minutes of research, I could get this Paul fellow trending on social media.
DL: Oh no doubt. Paul was very controversial. He was imprisoned multiple times (some terms lasting years), tortured, & even had to escape death by being lowered in a basket over a city wall. Using today’s lingo, one could argue that the Roman government executed Paul for the crime of spreading misinformation.
Miss Anne Thrope: On 2nd thought, this Paul sounds like our kind of guy. What was his advice?
DL: Paul had lots of tips, but I would submit his main suggestion to help avoid the grumbling grind was to “Let the peace of Christ reign” in our lives.
Miss Anne Thrope: What does that even mean?
DL: First, by using the word “let” Paul is indicating that we all have a choice for our life’s philosophy. For example, imagine the difference in the tone & wording of our workplace emails if we replaced the mantra “Look out for #1” with “Let the peace of Christ reign.”
Secondly, imagine how our conversations, comments, & social media postings would change if “Let the peace of Christ reign” was posted on a sticky note by our screen. Instead of criticism, put-downs, or snarky comments, our conversations would lean towards encouragement, empathy, & compassion.
Finally, what if we created a decision tree with “Let the peace of Christ reign” on all of our choices? Imagine the difference in our attitude as we put away our spouse’s dirty dish which is a mere 6 inches away from the dishwasher, or waiting behind the airline passenger who was blissfully unaware that they needed to take their laptop out of their bag in the TSA line, or, miraculously, we might actually believe during our 37-minute hold time that “our call IS very important” to the I.T. help line.
Miss Anne Thrope: Yipes. If people actually lived their lives by this mantra our group’s membership would plummet. Hmmm. I know. We’ll gin up another “crisis of the day” to keep people agitated & distracted. The last thing we need is people living lives of peace & contentment. Whoa. I have to run. I have tickets for the drive-in theater’s special double feature of Ishtar & Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.
DL: Really? Those are 2 of the worst rated movies ever & it’s going to be unseasonably hot & humid tonight.
Miss Anne Thrope: (Smiling.) I know. I’m going to be nit-picking & grinning all night long!
Note: For those readers unfamiliar with Darren’s writing “style,” Miss Anne Thrope is a fictitious person whose name plays on the word “misanthrope,” which means someone who dislikes humanity – Editor.
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