Good, Evil, and Making Peace

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Ray has been teaching from Ephesians during our Wednesday evening YouTube lessons. Ephesians 2:1-2 talks about the time when we were “dead in our trespasses and sins” and about “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1-2). As I read those verses recently, a certain politician popped into my head. I wouldn’t think of naming this politician and I hope you won’t try to guess.

It really doesn’t matter who this specific person is. I have no idea what this person’s spiritual condition is and am not judging this person. I simply was struck by the reality that evil exists, an evil we don’t want to be part of at all. We don’t want our children to be on that dark side either. We want to be on the side of light and we want our children to be there, too.

This is the message
we have heard from Him
and announce to you,
that God is Light, and in Him
there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

No darkness at all.

It is tempting to believe that political yaw-yawing is new, but it is very old. The first really ugly presidential campaign was when Vice President Thomas Jefferson ran against John Adams, the president with whom he was serving. No other vice president in American history has run against the president with whom he served.

Jefferson and Adams had been close friends. Their families were close friends. Thomas Jefferson and Abigail Adams were close friends. When Jefferson was a diplomat in Paris and Adams was a diplomat in London, Mrs. Adams and Jefferson wrote friendly letters to each other. She told him what she would like for him to purchase for her in Paris, and he wrote to her what he would like for her to purchase in London. Jefferson’s daughter stopped in London to stay with the Adamses while on her way from America to France. Mrs. Adams and Jefferson’s daughter became close as a result of that visit.

The friendship died during the campaign. As I mentioned recently, John Adams left the White House early on the day that Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated. Adams left town without attending the inauguration. The two men never saw each other again.

The dissolution of this friendship worried founding father and physician Benjamin Rush. Rush was friends with both men. Jefferson served two terms as president. After Jefferson went back home to Monticello, Rush worked as a peacemaker. He cared about his two friends, but he also cared about America. He not only thought a renewed friendship would help Jefferson and Adams. Rush believed a reconciliation between them would be better for the nation.

Finally, one New Years Day, Adams wrote Jefferson a letter. Jefferson replied. Their relationship warmed. The breach healed. The letters continued for the rest of their lives.

After more than a decade of correspondence, the two men died within hours of one another — Jefferson at Monticello in Virginia and Adams at Peacefield in Massachusetts. And yes, amazingly, they died on the 4th of July — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson and Adams died as friends.

Peacefield, Quincy, Massachusetts

I doubt there are many mamas of more than one child who does not act as a peacemaker — often every day and often several times a day. Peacemaking is a wearisome job, but such an important one. Homes need more peacemakers. America and the world do, too. Jesus said:

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
Matthew 5:9

Jesus’ fiery disciple Peter learned as he grew older, too. He gives us details about what peace looks like.

To sum up, all of you be harmonious,
sympathetic, brotherly,
kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
not returning evil for evil or insult for insult,
but giving a blessing instead;
for you were called for the very purpose
that you might inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9

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