Inner & outer peace is connected to the overcoming of evil with good. That fight for peace; for transformation of the heart and the renewing of the mind, begins with God and is the outworking of His dealings with us.
The strength and ability to fight that fight; to respond by taking in our hands the responsibility that is, even in our limited capacity, given to us, through His costly invitation, which grants us permission to participate, comes from the grace of God.
It is true, that He acts in His capacity as Master and true Lord over us, however, He is no master of puppets, nor does He will to be so [i]. In putting on ‘the armour of light’, (Rm.13:12-14)
Christians, through Jesus Christ, become what they, even in their own brokenness are: ambassadors of light.
‘According to Romans 12, there is a possibility of doing what the man torn by his inner distress cannot do […] This possibility is certainly not one which they can have of themselves […] Those who are in a state of inner disquiet can and must be peacemakers.’ (Karl Barth, CD 2/2:731) [ii]
To be Christian, doesn’t mean that we resign ourselves to ignorance, tyranny, blind compassion, or an oppressive ideological hegemony.
It means a realignment towards the One, who, on our behalf chose and chooses to correct, and challenge all ideological prisons that seek to nail distortions, disorder, and dysfunction, into the flesh of our entire existence.
Christian love, therefore, is knowing how, why and when to say “no”; as much as when, why and how to say “yes”. Christ did not preach or uphold an absolute ‘ethic of universal niceness.’
God is no master of puppets, nor does He will to be so.
[i] ‘…but the sovereignty which was to be confirmed and glorified was the sovereignty of His love, which did not will to exercise mechanical force, to move the immobile from without, to rule over puppets or slaves, but willed rather to triumph in faithful servants and friends, not in their overthrow, but in their obedience, in their own free decision for Him.’ (Barth, The Election of Jesus, CD II/II p.178)
[ii] Barth, K. 1942 The Goodness of the Decision of God, Church Dogmatics, Hendrickson Publishers – It should be noted here that Barth is not advocating a kind of stoic detachment from conflict; he isn’t advocating pacifism. Particularly one that seeks stand over the Prince of Peace, pacifying Him and God’s command. See p.717 of CD: 2:2, ‘…We cannot and should not spare either ourselves or others this conflict.But it can and will be rightly conducted only as we recognise that in itself the command of God is the command of absolute peace, and that we can engage in strife only for the sake of peace.’
Artwork: Unknown artist. I, however, have edited this from the original.