From Show Me Your Path: Cultivating a Life of Discernment
By Michael Mercer (Chaplain Mike)
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As we try to mark the path of wisdom and discernment, it is important to recognize that these qualities are not ends in themselves but means to a greater end. We seek to be wise and discerning for a purpose. I believe that purpose is to help us be people who advance what God wants most for this world, for us, for our families, neighbors, communities, and nations. And what God wants is shalom.
The Hebrew word shalom is often translated “peace,” but it signifies something much deeper, broader, and more profound than that. Shalom refers to wholeness, completeness, integrity of relationships, flourishing, a sense of safety and security, and the feeling that all is right and rightly ordered in our lives.
To paraphrase what George Valliant said again: The key to life is “relationships, relationships, relationships” — whole, complete, made right.
…If this is God’s goal for the world God created, then we can understand why Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers [shalom-makers], for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Jesus came to restore shalom, and now he enlists us as his followers to discern how we might cooperate with him in the ongoing work of doing that.
…This must be the priority of every follower of Jesus in the process of bringing God’s shalom to the world. Shalom involves restoring the “wondrous webbing together” of God and humanity and all of creation. We seek to restore the “very good” relationships God ordered in creation (Genesis 1).
- We seek to share God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love, especially with those who have no spiritual resources.
- We share God’s comfort and peace, especially with those who are mourning and grieving.
- We give dignity to others, especially the voiceless an powerless, in order to help them find a good place in the world.
- We seek justice and equity, especially for those who have been mistreated, oppressed, and exploited.
- And we support and commend those who work humbly and faithful toward these ends.¹
From Chapter Two: A Path toward Shalom
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¹ These bullet points are an amplification and application of Jesus’ teaching from the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11).