Forget world peace: visualize using your turn signal.
So states the bumper sticker on an old, beat-up white truck that I see around town occasionally. I’m not sure if the driver meant the application seriously or snarkily, but either way it speaks truth. In a lot of ways, I think the human condition while driving is indicative of the human condition as a whole — everyone would affirm that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, yet curiously everybody seems to be fine acting in that wrong way if it means saving a few seconds, getting to where they’re going a bit faster. Somehow, even though we know we should be, we aren’t quite unified.
Christians aren’t any different. We talk a lot (cf. Monday) about pursuing reconciliation and unity, but when push comes to shove, we’re often the ones doing both. We talk a lot about healing the world, about saving the nations, about bringing the Kingdom of God to the whole earth — yet curiously we let others catch us belittling each other in the very same breath with which we praise God for all his marvelous deeds. We’re too focused on changing the world, on achieving a flawless understanding of God, on doing great things. We seem to have forgotten that the world already exists right here were we are, that God is much grander than we can fathom, and that trying to be great isn’t the path to greatness. We’re too focused on world peace to remember to use our turn signals, especially with each other.
So what I want to propose here is a shift of attention. Instead of focusing solely on all the great things we’re going to be able to do once we get where we’re going, let’s try to act right now to bring the unity of the Kingdom right here to where we are. In addition to rushing off to save impoverished and neglected peoples from their fate, let’s make sure the lonely, neglected people in our local churches know that they’re loved. In addition to reconciling war-torn nations, let’s also pursue reconciliation with our brothers and sisters right here. Jesus came in part to show us a better way, not just in making disciples of all nations but in giving alms quietly. Let’s follow his lead with each other as well as the rest of the nations. World peace is terribly important, but a truly peaceful world can’t exist while people don’t use turn signals.