“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” -Jesus Matthew 10.34

Hey, isn’t Jesus called the Prince of Peace? And in John 14, Jesus says this: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

So what did Jesus mean that he came not to bring peace, but a sword? I think he is saying that there will be conflict if you follow Jesus. If you follow Jesus, you will find yourself in conflict with the values of those around you. Think about the conflicts that Jesus experienced. He experienced conflicts over who he included; what constituted true righteousness. Who was acceptable to God. Jesus experienced conflict with the religious establishment of his day.

Think about how Jesus handled this conflict. He used different methods. Sometimes he told stories. Sometimes he asked questions. Sometimes he called people out (calling the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs”). And these conflicts were always over something important–usually how people were treated or when God was being misrepresented. And restoration was Jesus’ aim, not winning an argument.

Standing up for people who have been marginalized will bring conflict. Including people who have been excluded will bring conflict. Insisting that God’s truth is accurately (as much as possible) represented will bring conflict. As Christians, we stand with the least and the lost. As Christians we insist that God’s good news not be used for anyone’s personal or political agenda.

And this might bring conflict.