Christmas 2021 #2
Peace overcoming Safetyism
Psalms 34:12–14 (NIV)
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many
good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn
from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
As we prepare for our Incarnation Celebration we
are considering peace. Last time we
agreed that peace exists when there is a binding or joining together something
that has been separated. We learned that
our spiritual peace is the result of our pleasing God. We discovered that it is through faith,
fearing, and following behaviors that God is pleased and estrangement with God
ends. Recall the angels sang to the
shepherds who were keeping watch over their flocks during the night “Peace to
all men and women on earth who please him.”
John Lennon wrote,” “This-ism, that-ism, ism ism
ism All we are saying is give peace a chance” (Give Peace a Chance, 2006). In our polarizing culture peace is in short
supply. We are being “ism’d” to
death. Fractured relationships need peace. We believe that peace with God makes it
possible for human beings to be at peace with themselves and peace with each
other. Peace with God comes as we do
what pleases God. Trusting that the
gospel is true: That everyone conflicts
with God because of sin; believing Jesus’s mission was to atone for those sins
and bring peace between you and God that when you commit to living God’s
way—you are forgiven, set free, and empowered to live your life to the
full. Peace with God makes peace
possible within yourself, which in turn flows out as peace with others. Because of God’s peace the followers of Jesus
can become peacemakers. By bringing
those estranged and divided together we can change the world. But it begins in you, it begins with your
desire to have peace with God. Do you
want the peace God offers? Ask God for
it. He will lead you into His perfect
peace. Ask right now.
Peace is uniting two that were divided,
reconciling two that were at odds. Three “ism’s” are killing peace: Safetyism, Emotionalism, and Tribalism. We are going to examine these “ism’s” to see
how they can be overcome. Our
Incarnation Celebration invites us to become infected with the virus of peace
and to be carriers of the peace virus.
The world needs to get infected. We need a pandemic of peace but one
thing preventing peace is safetyism
Safetyism refers to the cult of safety, where an
individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being is the number one
priority. Being safe becomes the most
important value. Even truth takes a second
seat to safety. Everyone wants to be
safe but what can happen when safety becomes your number one priority is that
you imprison yourself, you build boundary walls around you that keep you safe
from perceived threats, but after a while, those boundary walls become a prison
cell, anxiety and fear increase in your daily life.
From “helicopter parents,” to “Political
Correctness,” to “no diving boards on your private pool,” to “University
Campus’ Safe Zones,” safety has become the number one cultural concern. Keeping people safe physically used to be
what safety was about. But when you live
in a culture of fear almost everything becomes unsafe. For the most part, media heightens the fear
factor. Historically every governing
body uses fear to control and manipulate the governed. Generate an adequate amount of fear and people
will do just about anything to stay safe.
The quest for safety has engulfed the idea of emotional safety. People need to be protected from what will
emotionally upset them, like a differing opinion or someone disagreeing with them,
or an idea that challenges their worldview.
We must keep people safe from triggering events that recall some
undisclosed traumatic event. Keeping
people safe is always “for the good of the people.” We must legislate, regulate, and control “the
many” for the safety of “the few.” It’s
for the greater good.
When you live like this imprisoned by the need for
safety you take no risks. No risks
result in no growth. No growth leads to stagnation. Stagnation invites rot. There is no peace in rot. Living in reality one weighs the risk against
the reward. If in reality, we judge the
risk too high we refrain from taking it.
If in reality, we judge the reward great enough we go for it. But in a culture of safety, no risk is worth
the possibility of being harmed, of being rejected, or being challenged, the
harm of being disagreed with, the harm of differing opinions.
Playing it safe stifles your growth. To grow physically and emotionally you need
to be challenged. You need to be
confronted with difficult tasks. You
need to explore, discover, and solve. You are not fragile, you need the trials.
testing, and tribulations to mature. Mom,
Dad, your kids are not fragile.
James 1:2-4 (MSG)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and
challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your
faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to
get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and
well-developed, not deficient in any way.
The way to overcome suffocating your growth is by
embracing the new and challenging (Isaiah 43:18-19). Turn off the TV and start solving life’s mysteries
and puzzles. Stop texting and start
talking. Begin learning something you’ve
wanted to do, building that new skill builds you (Proverbs 24:5). Don’t stop learning, don’t stop listening
(Proverbs 18:15, James 1:9). Expand your
network of people, become a conduit for connection (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Do things you’ve never done before, go to new
places, go to the wilderness, go to the beach, go to the city, go explore. Try again something you have previously
failed at. Ask yourself: Is there any value in reconciling the damaged
relationships in your life (Matthew 18:15)? Face your challenges and overcome
them not run from them (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
Meet your neighbors.
Volunteer. You intentionally
expose yourself to new ideas, new thoughts, and think things through for
yourself and you will grow (Proverbs 14:15).
These are examples of what a good life coach will tell you. Play it safe just wraps you in a straight
“Playing it safe” stops your spiritual
growth. Jesus is our example and he did
not play things safe. He confronted and
sometimes antagonized people with wrong ideas to the point where the opposition
sought to solve this “boat rocking” by putting Him to death. The Apostle Paul
was a follower of Jesus and he put his life on the line numerous times. Doing God’s will is dangerous.
Matthew 10:16 (NIV)
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.
Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Play it safe and you will not go out on God's
missions. You will not seek to do God’s
will. You will be like the servant who
was entrusted with $100,000 and hid it in the ground (Matthew 25:14-30). By choosing to play it safe the servant lost
everything. There is no faith without following, following means obedience to
God’s way, no obedience results in no peace with God.
Go all-in with God. Stake your life on His promises, that even if
you are slain, there is life eternal waiting for you (John 11:25). Come out of the shadows, come in from the fringes,
and be a lover, you’ve been empowered to
be one (Isaiah 43:10). Give yourself
away (John 15:13). You are God’s special
gift to the world. He manifests His
love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and provision through you (1 Corinthians
12:7-12). Take that stand for what is
right, for Kingdom values, and don’t worry about what you’ll say, the Holy
Spirit will inspire you (Matthew 10:19).
Don’t allow yourself to be cowed into being silent about your faith (Deuteronomy
31:6, Joshua 1:9). Have an answer ready
to those who would question the way you live your life (1 Peter 3:15-16). Will there be opposition? Of course, there
will be (John 16:2)! Don’t avoid being
God’s ambassador by playing it safe (2 Corinthians 5:11-12).
Playing it safe steals your autonomy. You become like your five closest friends (1
Corinthians 15:33). The urge to conform
is powerful. That makes you susceptible
to groupthink, to the false consensus effect.
The effect creates the conviction that “if the people around me think a
certain way, then it must be right.” You
convince yourself that everyone should think and behave like us. You are not a clone, you need to seek out the
truth for yourself, not accept someone else’s opinion on what is right. If you
are not true to your calling, your uniqueness, there will be no peace with
Proverbs 29:25 (MSG)
The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in
God protects you from that.
When was the last time you got out of your safety
zone and into the danger zone?
You get into the danger zone by searching for the
truth (John 17:17, Psalm 119:160).
Suspect that if everyone believes the way you do then you may have been
captured by consensus bias, groupthink (1 Corinthians 10:12). If you think you are right, then, search out
someone who has a different opinion, listen, seek to understand why they
disagree with you. Look through their
rose-colored glasses, you won’t have to keep them on. In doing this you gain an understanding of
both sides of the story and you just might find a better way than either your
or their opinion.
1 John 4:1 (MSG)
My dear friends, don't believe everything you
hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks
about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the
If there are lying preachers, I think it’s safe to
assume that there are others who are deceived also. Examine what you hear, what you read,
evaluate all in light of scripture and your experience. Test the validity of what the crowd is
saying. Delve into the agenda of some particular thought or movement before you
sign up. Don’t be a parrot, dig deeper
than the headlines. Checking your
sources is important. Confirming that
your thoughts are your own and the ramifications of those thoughts are in line
with Kingdom values is more important (Romans 14:5). You have been given the gift of a sound mind
and the ability to choose (Romans 12:2,
2 Timothy 1:7). If you let others think
and choose for you, you’ve surrendered yourself, you’ve let them steal your
autonomy. Don’t lose your peace by
playing it safe going with the flow.
Life is inherently dangerous. We get through life weighing risk against
reward. But when you play it safe, the
risk of harm always seems greater than the reward of learning new things,
experiencing new things, growing into the person God has always intended for
you to be. You are not fragile, you can
handle life, God empowers you to do so. If you start your investigation with
the question: What is the worst possible thing that can happen? You may choose to stay in bed, “hiding in
your room safe within your womb” (Simon & Garfunkel, 1966). The rewards of risk are growth. When safety
becomes the preeminent value, your freedom, your liberty, your autonomy, and your
peace are forfeited.
All I am saying is to give peace a chance.
Post a Comment