Being At Peace With Others But Being Who God Made You To Be At the Same Time
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
“But remember that this text is too lightly interpreted. It is constantly assured, especially in our Tolstoyan tendencies, that when the lion lies down with the lamb the lion becomes lamb-like. But that is brutal annexation and imperialism on the part of the lamb. That is simply the lamb absorbing the lion instead of the lion eating the lamb. The real problem is—Can the lion lie down with the lamb and still retain his royal ferocity? THAT is the problem the Church attempted; THAT is the miracle she achieved.” -G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
What Chesterton is asking us to consider carefully is that the animals mentioned in the scripture from Isaiah still retain their identities but are now able to achieve a respectful peace with one another. We note the conjunction “and” and finally “them”. This is something the grouping of animals does together. So any pairings are logical and is why Chesterton highlights the lion and the lamb to emphasize the startling contrast. The wonderful prospect of differing identities at peace is only achievable through the peace that Jesus gives:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
We do not have to change the sacred identity that God has given each one of us: that does not glorify God. But something about us does need to change. Our rebelliousness and tendency to sin against our godly nature. That needs to change. Acting in a sinful and rebellious way (which is often called “tolerance” today) does not glorify God. That is what the world does and it encourages an insincere form of love. This insincere love does not hate what is bad but tolerates it. This is what leads to division and not peace. It leaves many broken-hearted in the background in its lust for self and pleasure. This way claims it is “not hurting anyone” but that is a lie. Like the wolf, the leopard, and the lion above, these ones misuse their natures in a wrong way and encourage others to do the same, simply denying the hurt they are causing because the hurt may not become apparent for some time. But there is a better way, a complete and full way that lets each of us retain our sacred nature and be at true peace with one another.
Jesus is that Way. Learn from Him.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6