Did your mom ever tell you to stand up or sit up straight? Posture, posture, posture.
I am very tall and my mom and dad were always telling me to stand up straight, to watch my posture and to be proud of being taller than everyone else.
It had a significant impact on how I present myself to the world.
I think peacemaking is all about posture. How are you taking up space? How do you present yourself to the people you interact with on a regular basis?
Jesus came with the posture of a servant. He gave up all his rights as God’s equal and humbled himself to become one of us.
If this is the posture of a disciple of Jesus, what rights would you have to give up to become one of “them?”
I know this is difficult. I personally think my education, expertise, and gifting have earned me a certain amount of respect and should engender trust in others.
But I find when I enter a new space with others, they either don’t know or don’t care about what I bring to the table. They just care about whether I will enter common ground with them.
Jesus’ life and ministry demand we ask ourselves how to posture ourselves for peace?
John 1:14 says, “The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus postures himself toward the world “full of grace and truth.”
Most of us, because of the way we are wired tend to lean one way or the other on the grace/truth spectrum. We all know “full of grace” folks. We love them because they love us, but sometimes, we think they are push overs.
The “full of truth” folks can seem a little stiff and unwilling to flex. They come across as pushy and judgmental.
The way of Jesus is full of grace and truth. I think this is all about posture.
Can we position ourselves toward others, relationally, where we are full of grace, inviting people into a place of safety and security with us as human beings?
And, like Jesus, call them toward a more deepening revelation of truth in the process?
That is what Jesus did. He was open relationally to all. Everyone was invited to the party. But, he always pointed toward the truth.
Jesus referred to himself as the Good Shepherd.
In the first century (and still in the Middle East), shepherds led with their voice.
They did not have sheepdogs or horses to sheep herd. They developed a relationship with the sheep and the sheep recognized the shepherd’s unique call.
The shepherd would go out in front of the sheep, calling them to follow. The sheep knew the shepherd’s voice meant safety, security and provision.
This is the model Jesus gives us – to be shepherds. I want to posture myself, toward everyone, full of grace, inviting, welcoming, creating a culture of safety, security and provision. But I also want to lead others into the truth. Will you join me?
Jason Smith is the senior pastor at Vineyard Church in Salida.