Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
People who live in an atmosphere of constant conflict often lament, “Oh, if I could just have peace!” Made in the image of God, we crave peace and spend a lot of money to go places where peace is present.
Craving peace is understandable but striving for peace and making peace are different from each other. Striving means that peace may not always be possible. While Jesus promotes unity and while He came to make it possible for us to have peace with God, He also came to bring the sword of truth that would pierce men’s hearts. Jesus was not a ‘peace at any price’ Savior. How am I to internalize this scripture then? Understanding begins when I acknowledge that it takes two people to have peace in a relationship.
Paul said, ‘If it is possible, live at peace.’ The ‘if’ is important to digest because it’s possible, due to people’s sinfulness, to never achieve peace. People in marriages, families and friendships, deeply hurt another, then offer a generalized, token apology that is pretty meaningless. “Guess I’m a bad friend. Chalk me up to being a bad spouse.” Some consider that an adequate apology and then want everything back to normal. These are not grounds for peace nor are they grounds for reconciliation!
We are told to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We get the harmless part of the equation and cave to the pressure to gloss over things instead of being wise. There are few truth seekers. By nature, we weren’t born to own the truth as God defines it. But the closer I get to Jesus, the more truth I embrace. With that, the more spiritual sparks I feel from others around me who are repelled by Jesus. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness will always cause a combustible reaction.
What if there hasn’t been an offense but just a difference of opinion? There isn’t a ‘wrong’ vs. ‘right’ but there are strong feelings attached to each position. Jesus must show me the path I’m to take. Is this a hill worth dying on? Perhaps making peace to love and serve my brother would please God more than digging in my heels. Here is the pitfall. I must repent of pride for automatically assuming that I am right or know best, that I am on the side of truth. Humility in prayer will allow God to show me what’s really going on. Perhaps I love to be right more than I love to love others.
As Steve Brown says (the founder of Key Life), “God didn’t save you to make you right, He saved you to make you His.” Humility becomes us as we defer but humility also clothes God’s warriors.
Lord, for those needing wisdom, grant it. Amen