How many times have you sought to make peace with someone or even yourself? I would be willing to say that we have gone about this task many times. Unfortunately, we do not seem to be able to come to a lasting peace. That is because we do not understand where to start. Our minds tell us we must start with ourselves and seek a solution that we can understand. I am sorry to say that our solution will likely fail, and many times make the problem worse. Merton points very clearly at the way we must approach this in ordered steps. Peace begins with us, but the source is far outside of ourselves.
We seek peace with others by making peace with God. There are so many promises in the Bible that we receive the moment we make peace with God. Here are just a few:
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. ~~~John 14:27
Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. ~~~Hebrews 12:14
If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. ~~~Romans 12:18
We begin our journey to peace by making our devotion to God our source of strength. Making peace with God means relying on him for everything. We get a strange sense of warmth and comfort when we turn things over to him. Suddenly, delightfully, we are no longer alone, and peace floods our souls. Let us look at those three biblical concepts of peace.
When God gives his peace to you it is radically different than the peace of the world. World peace is temporary and never given without a price that we must pay. We proclaim peaceful compromise, even forgiveness of offences, but we can never forget. All human forgiveness is merely clemency and not the true forgiveness of God. With true forgiveness comes a peace that surpasses understanding. That is the peace that only God can give. Once we receive God’s peace new avenues of opportunity come our way.
An important one of these opportunities is the ability to pursue peace. Every Christian should have the goal of being at peace with all. Without God’s peace in us, we are not even capable of pursuing peace with others. The word pursue means to chase. God wants us to chase peace with our brothers and sisters throughout the world. A sort of utopian peace is the pinnacle of the Christian life.
The writer of Romans gives us the charge and the reality of living life as a peace pursing follower of Christ. He tells us to expend all of the resources and energy that we can muster to live in peace with the world. A lack of peace should never be our choice. We must always do everything we can to achieve that goal. The ultimate goal of every Christ follower is to live peaceably with all.
Let us all try to make the lyrics of the familiar chorus become true. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me; let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.” We are called to do our part to lead this world to where God meant it to be.
LORD, lead me this day to be an instrument of peace to the world. May I trust you enough to truly have your peace in my heart. With your peace in my heart, I know that I can make a difference. Please give me opportunities and means to be your spokesman to the world. I trust in you and your ability to lead me this and every day.