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Everyday Peacemaker

Restoring Civility: Approachability

by P. Brian Noble / July 12, 2019

Peacemaking in the era of Trump, Pelosi, and Ocasio-Cortez.

When political views have divided relationships.

We are living an era of incivility. Where we talk less about the issues and more about the differences we have with an individual or group of people. I am a republican. I am a democrat. I am a socialist. I am black. I am white. I am Asian. I am. I am. I am. I am.  

The incivility increases day by day. We have stopped listening to each other. We talk over each other. We are thinking more about our rebuttal then we are understanding the other person. We make more statements than the questions we ask to understand.  

The incivility has crept into the church. Churches put down groups that are contrary to what they believe. Yes we need to have beliefs but do we really need all the incivility.  

We have to come to the point where we truly help our culture to embrace civility. In this blog series we talk about restoring civility back to our civilization.  

Some may say that this blog is too idealistic, too biblical, too naïve, or too something else. However, I know the answer to our current political culture is not found in more of what we have been doing for decades, if not centuries. I know the answer is found in the word of God.  

It is time that the people of God stand up and lead out in creating a culture of civility. It doesn’t mean we roll over and not truly believe in our cause. It does mean that as we stand we must stand in such away that we glorify God. Our political differences and interactions should be in a way that glorifies God.  

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB95)  

31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  

So let’s jump in to the Peacemaker Ministries Restoring Civility Blog Series.  

Peacemaker Ministries Restoring Civility: 

Approachability 

Think about the story of Joseph in the old testament. Joseph’s story is one of the greatest stories of injustice. Why? Because Joseph was an innocent man, his brothers were bitter and Joseph is forced to suffer the consequences of their actions.  

Here is a brief outline:

  • Innocent Joseph had his fathers favor. – (Genesis 37:3) 
  • Bitter brothers had hatred toward him. – (Genesis 37:4) 
  • Innocent Joseph had a spiritual dream. – (Genesis 37:6-9) 
  • Bitter brothers had jealousy toward him. – (Genesis 37:11) 
  • Innocent Joseph went looking for his brothers. – (Genesis 37:16) 
  • Bitter brothers plotted against him. – (Genesis 37:18) 
  • Bitter brothers stripped Joseph of his fathers favor. – (Genesis 37:23) 
  • Bitter brothers threw Joseph into a pit. – (Genesis 37:24) 
  • Bitter brothers sold him into slavery. – (Genesis 37:26-28) 
  • Bitter brothers lied to their father about what they did to Joseph.  
    – (Genesis 37:31-36) 
  • Innocent Joseph is imprisoned due to Potiphar’s attempted adulterous wife. – (Genesis 39:12-19) 
  • Innocent Joseph gets favor from the chief jailer. – (Genesis 39:21-23) 
  • Innocent Joseph interprets the chief cupbearers dream. – (Genesis 40) 
  • Innocent Joseph interprets the chief bakers dream. – (Genesis 40) 
  • Innocent Joseph, after 2 years of incarceration, interprets Pharaoh’s dream. – (Genesis 41) 
  • Innocent Joseph is made ruler of Egypt. (Genesis 41:38-49) 
  • Innocent Joseph comes face to face with his brothers. (Genesis 42-50) 

Now let’s see how Joseph interacts with this level of injustice. Let’s learn from it. In the political climate today, we will experience great injustice. We need to learn from the character of Joseph how we are to respond.  

Peacemaker Ministries Restoring Civility: 

Approachability 

Genesis 45:4-5 (NASB95)  

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 

Look right there: Joseph invites his brothers to come closer. Think about that. These are the people who sold him out. These are the people who caused him indirectly to be falsely incarcerated. These are the people who caused him much harm. 

How are you inviting those who oppose your political views to come closer? When you invite them to come closer do you have the right heart and motive in mind? Or are you inviting them to come closer simply because you want to hit them over the head once again with your political preferences.  

Think about this. We are the people of God. Those who are believers in Jesus. We are called to invite people into discussion. We are called to be reasonable, forgiving, and patient.  So let’s be the example.  

Now look at the next part.  

Peacemaker Ministries Restoring Civility: 

Approachability 

Genesis 45:4–5 (NASB95)  

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.  

Whatever Joseph did, he persuaded through his words, body language, and tones for his brothers to come closer and they did. When you are talking with friends, how approachable are you? Do people come closer or want to get away from you? This is so important.  

In our political conversations this can be very difficult. But let me remind you: greater than your flesh is the God who lives in you. It will not be by might or power that you will dialogue and debate people into heaven. It is by relying or depending on the Holy Spirit.  

Peacemaker Ministries Restoring Civility: 

Approachability 

Genesis 45:4–5 (NASB95)  

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 

Joseph is honest. He doesn’t sugar coat the actions of those who caused his injustice. Many times when we think of political conversations we think, “If I am going to be Christ like I have to sugar coat my opinions. No, you do not. You simply need to be honest and approachable.  

Peacemaker Ministries Restoring Civility: 

Approachability 

Genesis 45:4–5 (NASB95)  

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 

Joseph also cared about their emotional health and saw the entire injustice through an eternal perspective or big picture. This is the hardest part of the incivility we are experiencing right now. It is difficult to see it through an eternal perspective. However, believers, I want to remind you we are called to respond to incivility in a Biblical way so that God will be glorified.  

Read on about Joseph in your bible. He has many great responses to his brothers over, and over in Genesis 45 and 50.  

I hope this blog has encouraged you. If you need prayer for civility to return to your family, community, church, or workplace; please do not hesitate to email us your prayer request at prayer@peacemaker.training or give us a call 800-711-7118 

P. Brian Noble

Tags: Bible teaching, Restoring Civility

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P. Brian Noble

P. Brian Noble

P. Brian Noble is an everyday guy who loves Jesus. He has been married to his best friend, Tanya, for 20 years and they have four children; they currently reside in eastern Washington. Brian has a Master of Arts in missional leadership from Northwest University. He is the Executive Director/CEO of Peacemaker Ministries. An ordained minister for the past 20+ years (3 years as a Youth Pastor, 14 years as a Senior Pastor, and 4 years as an Executive Pastor), he proclaims hope through the gospel message as the Holy Spirit empowers believers in their daily walk. He believes in the power of the Word of God to transform lives. He has been a Certified Christian Conciliator since 2008, with 1000+ hours of conflict coaching and mediation experience. His caseload has ranged from husband and wife cases, to family farm, to public schools, and even county government. Brian has taught peacemaking in local jails and even internationally in Uganda. His hope is that every Christian reconciles their differences in a way that glorifies God. His hope is that every Christian recognizes they are a Peacemaker before they try to do peacemaking. Finally, his hope is that every Christian reconciles by making authentic peace that blends justice, mercy, and humility.

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