Given God’s active love in the world and in His people, how is it possible for two Lutherans to be so at odds that they don’t even know how to talk to each other without at least one, if not both persons getting really upset and/or uncomfortable?
The answer to this question begins with an understanding of worldviews and human nature. Corrupt human nature, the world, and the devil are happy to be part of a Lutheran church and even give a nod to God’s love as long as that corrupt human nature can continue to serve itself. In fact, a selfish and ego-centric human nature usually embraces religion because it expects God to help. On the one hand, our ego assures itself that God should be duly impressed with who I am and what I am about. On the other hand, that same ego has little or no tolerance for people who won’t, don’t, or can’t appreciate my ego the way God does. Double jeopardy indeed.
If, on the other hand, our identity and consciousness are in a soul regenerated by the Word of God, then the love of God is indeed active and being upset and uncomfortable gives way to care for each other as we collaborate and cooperate towards the care of others. Our regenerate soul stands apart from our ego and corrupt human nature, looking past insults, contradiction, and contentiousness to recognize why the other person is thinking, saying, and doing as he is. When we recognize the root of the trouble, then we can minister to that root cause with the truth and grace of God.
Finally, we do well to remember that our timing for such ministry and reconciliation may not be the same as God’s. If we can make peace with those around us then we remain and support that peace with truth, grace, and love. If a person refuses to be peaceable, then we give that person space and time; watching and waiting for the door towards peace to open.
Jesus said, “Have salt in yourself and be at peace with one another.” Salt kills yeast which removes the air from dough that has risen. So also the law kills our ego, deflates our pride, and thus allows us to settle down and into God’s providence for us.