Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
It has been a good many years since I heard a pastor profoundly say, "Talking about people is a great sport. You can make up your own rules; you can play the game, and you can be the umpire, too."
People like talking about other people. Sometimes they are flattering; occasionally they're honest, but most often they seem to take delight in sharing the failures and foibles, the sins and shortcomings of others. You know what I mean. If you don't, our presidents and prime ministers most certainly do.
That's the way it was in the last half of the 19th century when President Ulysses S. Grant was on his way to attend a dinner being held in his honor. As he walked, it began to rain and Grant opened his umbrella. When Grant came across a stranger who seemed to be going the same way, he offered to share that umbrella with the man. They soon found out they were going to the same dinner. Grant's companion said he was only going out of curiosity. Lowering his voice, the man said, "Between us, I've always thought Grant was much overrated."
At that, unrecognized Grant replied, "That is my view also."
People love to judge others. Herbert Hoover understood. Once a reporter said, "Mr. President, when I was a boy, you were one of the most popular men in the world. Then, (because of the Depression), you were one of the most unpopular. ... Didn't any of the meanness and criticism ever get under your skin?"
"No, of course not," came Hoover's reply. "I knew when I went into politics what I might expect, so when it came, I wasn't disappointed or upset." Then, Hoover looked directly into the reporter's eyes and added, "Besides, I have 'peace at the center,' you know."
When you read through the Gospels, you will see that Jesus was almost always being maligned. Exaggerations, misinterpretations and downright lies were told about Him. Still, He never seems vengeful or overly upset.
That may well have been because the Savior also had peace at the center. He knew He was about the Father's business, and He never forgot the eternal salvation of the world hung on His success. If He finished the job of living, dying and rising for us, He knew that all who would be brought to faith would have forgiveness and salvation. Yes, Jesus had peace at the center.
But how about you? Do you have peace at your center?
I pray you are following the example of St. Paul. Even though he had been involved in the initial persecutions against the Savior's people, when He was called to faith and the apostleship, he was transformed and given peace at his center. He learned to be content no matter the situation (see Philippians 4:11).
Writing for himself and others he spoke of this transforming power of Christ's forgiveness and blood-bought salvation. He said, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself."
Being reconciled to God because of Jesus ... that's the kind of event which can give a person peace at his center.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that no matter what others may say about me, I have peace at the center. May I always give thanks for the Savior who has made that peace more than a possibility. In His Name I rejoice. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries