Talk about a movie phrase. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone actually say “I mean you no harm” in real life before. It’s a phrase devised by Hollywood script writers and is analogous to “I come in peace” (also a phrase I have not heard in real life).
With the way our world and our nation seems to be going, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if we all started our conversations with “I mean you no harm” as a preface or preamble to our human interactions (I’m kidding, mostly). Fear is at an all time high. Mistrust and suspicion have become our de facto mode of interacting with one another. Social unrest, racial inequality, hate speech and bigoted ways of thinking seem to be defining our current reality and as Christians I wonder how we should respond.
Let’s go back to “I mean you no harm” for just a moment. Is there a way that we can model gentleness of disposition and such a peaceful spirit that it can’t help but show through us? I believe there is.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)
The Bible shows us that yes, we can show forth peace in a visible and remarkable way. As we surrender our old selves with our selfishness, fear, anxiety, anger and all of the old things that used to define us God replaces those things with the defining characteristics of His Spirit. This does not happen instantaneously but is a gradual, day by day process as we learn to love the Lord and walk with Him.
This is why daily renewal is so vital to our growth and maturity as Christians. Without that time to reconnect with the heart of our Lord we will gradually fall back into our old ways of acting and thinking and the fruit that we produce will not be the fruit of the Spirit. If you’ve ever wondered why some Christians look and act so much like the unsaved, this is why. A Christian who is not walking in renewal and who is not making personal Bible study and prayer time a priority will not grow in the Lord and will not be able to live and speak the right kind of message.
Our response to our unsaved family, friends, co-workers and neighbors will in some way determine their path through this life and where they ultimately spend eternity. Are we showing with our attitude and actions the fruits of the Spirit or are we perpetuating the cycle of selfishness, anger and fear? It will be one or the other. There is no middle ground.