Be of Noble Peace

I’m a people watcher.

It’s not only a pass time, it’s a passion.

When Kathy and I are short on money, we often make people watching our low budget entertainment for date night. For example, last night we spent 2.5 hours on a strategically positioned couch at the coffeeshop in Hastings and just drank it in.

In whispered tones like the National Geographic photographer crouched in the bushes just a few feet upwind from an African lion (idiot, by the way… said in love) who documents his close encounter on film, Kat and I whisper to each other:

  • “Think they’re a couple?”
  • “Friends or sisters?”
  • “Dude, she is mad. She’d stab him if we all weren’t here…”
  • “Do we know him?”
  • “I’d never let you out of the house wearing that.” (Obviously, a Kat only statement)
  • “Hey, I think those two are watching us… quick, act normal.”

I love watching people, and I think one of the gifts God has given me is discernment. So, you put those two things together and what do you get… a blog entry!

As a former journalist and news junkie I usually turn on Headline News before I even get out of bed. This morning, I was greeted by Breaking News that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, before anyone gets excited or angry, this entry has nothing to do with the President, his performance, or even his worthiness to receive the award.

Why not? For three reasons:

  1. I have no idea what the credentials for winning this prize are. I assume it has something to do with peace, so, I recues myself from this debate on grounds of overwhelming ignorance (wow, I should use that excuse more often).
  2. I have opinions about politics, social issues and our current global position, and as a former collegiate debate coach I’d love to take you on! You ready to RUUUUUMMMMMBBBLLLEEE? But, I don’t go that route, as I have chosen to submit to Scripture: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” The Holy Bible  : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Ro 13:1-2.
  3. The final reason this entry is not about the Nobel Prize, or the President is that it IS about people watching.

It’s been awesome. It’s only been about five hours since the Nobel Peace Prize announcement has been made and the war has begun. Pundits on either side are lining up to praise the choice or gnash their teeth, grrrr.

An incredible people watching event.

Fox News, Facebook, Twitter, morning radio and even the old guys across from me here at the coffeeshop (yes I’m back here less than 12 hours after date night, its an illness) are all abuzz! My favorite Tweet of the day, so far, is “I’m in favor of peace, can I have a prize?”

The funny thing to me is how vehement the sides are already. It’s almost like they were waiting up last night, on the edge of their seats, just to see who would get the award this year.

“Come on Secretary Lundestad… say the name, say the name! Nicolas Sarkozy, Nicolas Sarkozy, Nicolas Sarkozy! This has got to be your year Nic, come on baby!”

Doubt that was the case for any of us. I had to look up those names just to make the point.

So, I don’t think people are really responding to the award and who didn’t get it. They are responding to their preconceived notions about the recipient. It wouldn’t matter if Obama won the Nobel Prize or the free lunch buffet at Pizza Hut, there would be an argument just because of where people stand on this man.

(I just lost some of you because all you can think now is, “You can win a free lunch buffet from Pizza Hut?” Focus people)

There is a pace for this debate. There is a fundamental right to express your opinion. There is a real need to stay on top of the issues.

But believers, those who call themselves followers of Christ, be careful how you conduct yourself in these discussions and in some cases, verbal lashings.

The Scripture above should be convincing enough that we owe some level of submission to our authorities, no matter what we believe or prefer. But, I recently read an episode from the life of Paul that illustrates this beautifully.

From Acts 23:

Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” 4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?” 5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’” The Holy Bible  : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Ac 23:1-5.

A little background on this is that Paul should have been fed up already. Smacked around, lied about, imprisoned and generally abused over the last few days by this same group, he is brought before them for judgment.

Then, when he talks he gets smacked in the mouth again.

Seriously, if there ever was reason to jack slap someone back… this is it! If I were Paul my next words would be, “Hold me back! Hold me back! I’m taking this dude to the gun show!”

But, when someone near him said, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?” Paul wiped the blood from his lip and apologized.

He submitted to Scripture and the authority of the position, corrupt and abusive as it was, standing just before him.

Further, as a follower of the Way (meaning he was a Christian), he didn’t even really believe he was the high priest anymore. Most commentators believe Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, which says:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. The Holy Bible  : New International Version, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984), Heb 4:14-16.

Paul was being abused, railroaded and scandalized personally by a man who was stealing the title of his own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by calling himself the High Priest. Yet, even as he is struck, he submitted to the Word and spoke, as Jesus would have him speak.

Fellow believers, there is a place for our dissent and disapproval, but let this article stand as a warning. Whether its President Obama, your boss at work, a traffic cop, your pastor or anyone in authority… conduct yourself in a manner worthy of your faith.

Your opinions are valid, they are just not as important as your testimony.

Many blessings!

13 Replies to “Be of Noble Peace”

  1. Wow, excellent blog..and I know just the message board to put the link to this on…;) I am already tired of the topic cause I already know how its going to go…endless hours and posts on the topic for day and weeks…endless news commentaries on all the 24/7 news stations..isn’t their something else more important to talk about?…it gets old and boring and few seem to take heed to the scriptures you posted. 🙁 Its discouraging to see Christians do that too…very much a downer. I made two posted comments on him getting this award and am done with it..I would rather talk about them smashing the moon with a rocket to see if there is water. Who wants to even live on a planet devoid of plants and animals and no blue sky? Talk about depressing! ugh..poor moon..another cater in its face.

    Keep up the good work on here Andy!

  2. My first time to REPLY to anything,not sure what I’m doing! The line at the end, Your opinions are valid, they are just not as important as your testimony. GOD just hit me up beside the head with a 2 by 4! He made it so clear to me just now, reading this.Thanks Andy, God used you today in a BIG way, the strugle to do what He wants me to continue doing just became a lighter load, a labor of Love, not just a labor. WOW! OH what a difference He makes in my life. Someone should make that a song! LOL With so much Love for your family Darla

  3. Need to add one thing..I am not totally blameless about never speaking against a President by any means. (past and present)…and I did make a comment about Obama winning this that wasn’t with the best intentions either, which now I feel convicted about after reading your blog. So to avoid temptation..I am going to avoid reading any more on this about him…as I said, I already knew it was going to get horrible and awful and be big downer anyway…:(

    God bless

  4. The Nobel Peace Prize goes to President Barack Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples

  5. Andy…good word man. I just finished up lunch with a young man and we were basically talking about this same issue. Not so much the political side (I’m so not political – I do have opinions though!) or about Obama – but about what our minds think about in general, and how that comes out – whether in word or action toward other people. Thanks for the encouragement here man…it really confirms even what God has been teaching me much about lately in how I react to situations, to people, to conversations, to problems, to Christians even for that matter…lol. I pray my testimony is much louder than our opinion…because when my time is over on this earth, no one will care or probably even talk about my opinion, but they will about my testimony of my relationship with Jesus. Thanks man…

  6. Yes Micah! Too cool brother man. Glad we’re on the same page… and not just on Nobel Peace 🙂

  7. Oh Julie… I wouldn’t have written this if it wasn’t a problem for me, too. We’ll struggle through it sister!

  8. Darla, so glad to hear from you and how awesome it has hit us all at our point of need. Many blessings on you and yours and I hope to see the Mongs again soon someday!

  9. in all reality the president of the united states has little or no effect on how we run our day to day lives, the decisions we make or how we raise our families. conversely, Jesus Christ affects our lives entirely(at least He should). to use a sermon point(brownie points) lock your eyes on the real Peacemaker.

  10. Andy my wife says I’m very opinionated about politics, so your blog hits me right between the eyes. I’m trying to not let it get to me like I use too ( who is in office). I need to let God handle the things I can’t change myself and that is hard to do. Andy thanks for tackleing the hard issues and using Gods words to set us straight.

  11. Your opinions are valid, they are just not as important as your testimony. – made my quote list!

    Love how you somehow put this into words!! We all live in a very opinionated world. I must confess I am usually the one holding back not wanting to get involved. Thanks for reminding me that my testimony is not about what I say or don’t say – its about my attitude and actions.

  12. Andy; Thanks for sending this my way. I agree, we as believers have to watch how we conduct ourselves, in all areas of our lives. Hope that you are doing well. See you soon.

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