As one devout Christian is sitting home watching the news on CNN, his good friend, also a devout Christian, is at home watching Fox News. Both men are troubled by the stories tearing the country apart. Both men form strongly held, yet diametrically opposite opinions. Following their recent prayer and share group, they went out for dinner together. When the conversation turned to the recent news, voice levels rose as each man zealously staked out his position. Let me ask you, do you believe their discussion will leave either man feeling more at peace? I invite you to read more.
Are all debates and disagreements wrong? No, but there is a time and place for everything. Ecclesiastes 3:8 tells us there is a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. We need more peace in our world now!
Each year at Christmas we hear the passage from Isaiah 9:5 proclaimed. “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” Is the world at peace?
In John 14:27 we read, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Does it seem to you, as it seems to me, that everyone seems to have a troubled heart these days?
Philippians 4:6-7 offers us this verse. “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” People today seem anxious about too many things. Does it seem to you that we are experiencing a peace that surpasses understanding?
What’s gone wrong? Where is this elusive peace? Is peace even possible? If two Christian friends who meet weekly in prayer cannot sit together over dinner and be at peace, is there any hope that they will spread peace throughout the world?
To answer the question, what’s wrong, we need not look any further than ourselves. Are we agents of peace in the world or are we consumed with staking out our position on every news topic and then vehemently arguing our position, even if it adds more stress to our friends who are drowning in the anxieties of the time already? Sadly, I must admit I have fallen prey to this. My desire to be right sometimes wins out over my Christian responsibility to spread the peace of Christ. Have you done this?
As followers of Jesus Christ, what should our response be to the divisiveness of our modern society? We find that answer in 2 Corinthians 13:11. There we read, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
If conflict, division, anxiety, and pain seem to be ruling our culture, how can you and I work to bring about lasting change? Let’s open our Bibles to find the answers.
- If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. (Romans 12:18)
- Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
- Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:15)
- And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
- Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another. (Romans 14:19)
My dear friends, if there is to be peace in the world, then you and I must share the peace of Christ, always and with everyone. The next time you are having a conversation with a colleague at work, a friend at the fitness center, your neighbor at a backyard party, your spouse over dinner, or your children at a family gathering, remember these words from Matthew 5:9,“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Take a few minutes to listen to this beautiful rendition of LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH performed by the UP Concert Chorus. You will be very glad you listened.
Remind yourself that other people are most likely already reeling in the anxieties of our time. It is not always a good time to make your opinions known. Listen without rebutting and seize opportunities to deescalate tensions. Respond with words like this: “I understand your position, I will take time to reflect and pray over it.” Seek to find common ground.
James 3:18 offers these words of wisdom. “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.” Winning every debate, pressing our political points of view, or dogmatically presenting our solutions to every problem without consideration for the feelings of others is not very Christ-like.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace! He told us in John 16:33, “I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” With this reassurance, let’s all rededicate ourselves to being ambassadors of His peace. Together we can change the world for Christ.
Heavenly Father please grant me the blessing of peace and help me to share that peace with others, amen!
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