Wisdom from Heaven for Lent

by Martin Brooks 

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

I live in an inner-city neighborhood. Somali refugees, Nepali students, Mexican construction workers, African American neighbors and a few white people all share the same space. Gunshots and sirens are common. There is a house that sells drugs in the next block. Strip joints, liquor stores, check cashing stores, and fast food restaurants compete for our attention. Some guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty waves a sign around on the corner claiming that he can get me an early refund if I'll let them do my taxes.

I suspect that God loves my neighbors a whole lot more than I do. I mean, I get angry when they toss their beer bottles in my yard. I also avoid eye contact with the Statue of Liberty guy. One thing is clear: at least in my neighborhood, man's "wisdom" has left a long and evident trail of destruction. I wonder what Jesus would do if he lived in my neighborhood. Oh wait… He does.

A long time ago, Jesus came to a messed up world and said;

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The Prince of Peace blessed people that needed to be blessed, and we are called to imitate him. If I am going to be the hands and feet of Jesus, I need to check my own heart and learn to love like God loves. That is so convicting each time I walk out my front door. It is easier just to avoid eye contact. I desperately need to tap into this wisdom from above that James talks about.

When the Israelites were taken as captives to Babylon, they were aliens in a strange land. I sometimes feel like that. They were told to settle down in this strange place. They were to build houses, plant crops, and make a life there.

"Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jer. 29:7

I think God likes peacemakers. The Bible says, "Blessed are the peacemakers" and, "Seek peace and pursue it." But peace can be costly. It definitely takes a lot of effort. We have to wage peace. It is like James tells us: if we have peace, and we sow into this peace, we will see righteousness. My neighborhood could use some righteousness.

Where do you need God's wisdom to bring peace to your world?