We are now in the midst of our new year and all of the new hopes that come with it. People are looking for fresh starts and second chances. Not to be negative, but more often than not, the positive spirit of the New Year seems to fade and we become quickly overwhelmed with the state of the world again. This thought came to my mind as I was watching the news the other morning and the sound of aggressive debates and sad stories seemed to be playing on a loop. I felt myself tensing up just listening to it. In the newspaper, scrolling through our Facebook feeds and even in the passing conversations of the day, there seems to be conflict and hostility all around us. It has been said that our country, our world, has never been more broken and divided than it is today. With this statement comes questions of why and what do we do? Some people make resolutions to try and become “better people” with better habits, while others focus their attention on a cause. Most of us feel the weight of the world for a short moment during the day and are concerned, but then continue living our lives as we see fit. All the while the hostility seems to grow. People lash out at each other when opinions conflict or they keep to themselves trying to avoid hostile responses.
So again, what do we do, how do we feel when the “fresh start” atmosphere of the new year begins to fade and the reality of the hostile world around us finds its way back in?
God eased my mind later in the week while reading in His word. He reminded me of a time in history when Jews and Gentiles fiercely hated each other, but one man, a Jewish man, came and sat by a well and gave the gift of living water to a Gentile woman (John 4:7-15). This man is the only one who can bring peace among all people. This man is Jesus Christ.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:14-15
He levels all hearts, “no one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18). He mends all divisions, not by giving a list of rules to follow, but by giving us the same hearts. By His grace and mercy He has made a way for us to be made new; through faith in Jesus we can all have new life. This is not a metaphor. In my own life I have experienced how God literally changes hearts. He can relieve you of the endless train of questions and thoughts of comparison that run through your brain. The weight of His love can wholly tear down harmful and long lasting desires. He takes the shame of past destructive decisions and leaves you with peace and a secure hope in your heart. Through faith in Him we can have new hearts of flesh and not of stone (Ezekiel 36:26). He has made us to be part of ONE body, to share the same heart. When you share the same heart there is no room for hostility.
This is GOOD NEWS. And if you hold this good news, this cure to hostility, then be bold in sharing it! No matter what is to come this year, when you see the hurt of the world remember that you walk around equipped with a message that actually gives life to people in the midst of death.