I find this verse from James – particularly, the way that the New Living Translation renders it – to be quite inspiring. In fact, it’s something of a life verse for me.
So much in our world today seems to be about discord and disunity, and where people are willing to break out into fisticuffs at a moment’s notice over the smallest things! To me, this is quite unfortunate.
While I’m not an advocate of pluralism (think: melting pot) or syncretism (the pick-and-choose, buffet approach to faith), I think there is something to be said about how we carry ourselves forward in this world, in addition to what specifically we are saying. More often than not, it’s our behavior – and sometimes even our silence – that others find most compelling, rather than our ability to out-think, out-wit, and out-maneuver the person across the room we’ve deemed to be our “enemy”.
And while we cannot be assured of peace from without, we can be confident of possessing peace from within, when we allow the Holy Spirit to govern our thoughts, words, and actions toward those around us. In fact, when we strive to be at peace within ourselves, it’s only a matter of time before we start spreading these “seeds” around (that is what planting is, after all!). Then, in time, we are the ones who receive the blessing – by reaping a “harvest of righteousness” – as James describes it – in our own lives.
In my view, God only asks us to tend to our own gardens, rather than meddling in other people’s. So it seems to me that if I plant seeds of peace and focus on keeping my garden in good condition – and you attempt to do the same – then that is wisdom, no?