James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
In the opening scene of the old television series Gunsmoke, Marshal Matt Dillon faces down his opponent. The camera looks up at his face, the message might be that this is a man to be looked up to in life, a righteous man. Then his gun hand moves, drawing his gun and just before his gun fires you hear the other gun fire. It would have sent the wrong message if the marshal drew first. The message was consistent with the vision, he is a righteous man dealing with evil. His hand is steady and sure, it does not move as the scene ends, the smoking gun still clutched in the hand of the winner.
That is the funny thing about sending messages, you try as hard as you can to paint the proper picture, frame it, direct it, visualize it, and as soon as you send the message, it is out of your control as to how it is received. All our good intentions go for nothing if received by a troubled person. I cannot say that anyone else felt the same thing I did by the scene. Some may have said to themselves that good and evil solve their problems in the same way, by violence. Some might have told themselves that if I want respect, I need to buy a gun. Some might not even be aware of how they received the message, or that there was a message being delivered at all.
Our verse from James today reminds me that the image I project as a Christian has to start with who I am. I first had to make peace with my God, then I had to make peace with myself. I have to sow the seed of peace in my heart so that it would develop that righteousness that can be seen by others. I cannot control how others perceive any more than that smoking gun. The only thing I am responsible for is the seed I sow in my own body because those are the things that will grow and be seen. Beyond that God is in control and I need to allow Him to deal with the enemy.
Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Heavenly Father help me and our dear readership to choose wisely those seeds we sow in our hearts. AMEN