Today the gospel speaks of the jealousy of Jews who drove out Paul and Barnabas for preaching about Jesus. A jealous, conniving person is a selfish person, who does not live for the larger picture of God’s plans for the salvation of all. It is especially a scandal when Christians hate each other, or have no tolerance for the people of other religions.
God’s plan is for us to “to be a light to the Gentiles to bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.” Instead, you see political hatred and battles over religious diversity. All that really matters is that we live our Christian lives for all to see—by our values and decisions, and by the honour and respect we must show to each person we meet. A Muslim friend will meet Jesus if our life shines with the light of Jesus’ love. A Hindu co-worker may be surprised to learn how Jesus is the reason for your patience and tolerance at work.
The character Melanie from “Gone With The Wind” was one who personified mercy and love. Scarlett loves Melanie’s husband, Ashley; but Melanie still welcomes Scarlett and does not cater to the rumours. Two women write that they are so inspired by Melanie’s character, when they hear of a family problem or scandal, they say, “Now, we’ve got to be Melanie, not Scarlett.” Though they laugh as they say it, it is a practical reminder that there is a better way, and they are trying to take the high road.
Any small attempt to squash discord is a way to build God’s life in the world. That faithfulness in small ways is THE way to God’s heart.
Go in peace to love and serve our God!