For this week’s Monday Minute, Muriel challenges us to rise up above this age of outrage and become peacemakers as we follow Jesus’ lead.
Peacemakers in an Age of Outrage
by Muriel Gregory
“Unrealistic expectations, it all boils down to those unrealistic expectations.” The frustration in my son’s voice was seeping through the phone. It was not the first time our conversations centered around his toxic work environment. And it would not be the last. In his short five years in the Navy, he had dealt with more challenges and issues than most people his age.
Toxic work environments are not limited to my son or the Navy or any branch of the military. They are common, and I feel confident most of us have experienced them directly or indirectly.
Our culture of individualism dramatically hinders the selfless attitude needed for the community. After all, the workplace is a community. The modern philosophy of “you do you” has prompted more bitterness, inflexibility, and hatred than ever before.
Today, it is almost impossible to have a conversation without someone being “triggered” and shutting down the other person.
This toxicity has invaded our social media world and seeped into our workplace.
To not offend anybody, we make everything a priority and create unrealistic expectations. My son often deplores this as he witnesses projects left uncompleted and people not adequately taken care of. Ultimately the mission suffers.
What are we to do?
How do we navigate those troubled waters? What about the potentially dire consequences–rejection, passed for promotion, being fired–of taking a stand for what is right?
“Then Abishai said to David, ‘God has given your enemy into your hand this day. Now please let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice’. But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hands against the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?’”
1 Samuel 26:8-9
At this point in the story, David had been in Saul’s service for many years. Saul was Israel’s first king. David found favor with him because of his musical abilities;the sound of his harp soothed the king’s troubled soul. All was well until David killed Goliath and ran several successful campaigns against the Philistines. He quickly became the man of the year, and his exploits regularly made the front page of the Jerusalem Times.
Instead of being thankful to have such a talented soldier in his army, Saul resented David and wanted to kill him. Talk about a toxic work environment!
Tit for tat is often a tempting response. Surprisingly, David did not fall for this temptation. Surprisingly because:
- He knew God had chosen him to be king. (1 Samuel 16:13)
- He was a skilled soldier. (1 Samuel 18:7)
- This was the second time he had an opportunity to kill Saul. (1 Samuel 24:6)
David’s character was exemplary in this situation. He is known, after all, as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
When faced with a toxic environment, our choices need to be radical.
We need to make an uncompromised decision to follow the teaching and example of Jesus. He calls us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9; 38-42). It is the only way to do justice without becoming the oppressor.
In today’s age of outrage, it is a radically counter-cultural decision to walk by faith in the ways of Jesus and trust God with the outcome. It is a daily act of obedience that glorifies him and invites his will to be done.
We are the light in the darkness.
- Make prayer your first line of action.
- Discuss the situation with a trusted Christian friend.
- Do not engage in pointless retaliation but seek reconciliation.
- Toxicity is a venom that can spread quickly. Strive to be the antidote.
May we become peacemakers in an age of outrage.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Train God’s ways dictate our actions. The Bible needs to be our training manual. Our character grows more like his when we are connected to the source (John 15). A great passage to regularly reflect on is the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7)
Submit Fears can compromise our decision to follow the ways of Jesus radically. The best attitude to counter that is to daily submit to his will and pray not my will, but yours be done. (Matthew 26:42)
Build A community of other believers can help us to keep our focus and fan our faith. Christian friends are there to encourage and speak truth in our lives. Without accountability, I face the temptation of following the ways of the world and making the wrong decision. (Romans 12:2)
Lord, you have called me to be a city on a hill, a light in the darkness. I pray for courage and a steadfast resolution to study your ways and apply them to my life. Use me to be the antidote to the toxicity surrounding me. Amen.
Take a look at Brenda’s article on The Importance of Passing the Peace for more encouragement to boldly become peacemakers like Jesus.