From the dawn of the fall of man we’ve had this longing for peace. Well, some of us. There is a group that may not seem like they wouldn’t agree. Likely because they spend too much time watching Die Hard and playing Call of Duty. But that’s another post.
By and large, we humans, look for peace and search for it. Peace regularly seems to me to be an unattainable fantasy. Something that is simply beyond reach. When is the last time you’ve gone through an entire day without being at odds with someone? If you’re anything like me, I’ll bet you can’t really think of a time that has ever happened. EVER.
There’s always something or someone getting under your skin and causing conflict.
That jerk that is riding too close to your tail while you’re only trying to get to work (that’s right…for those of you who live in a larger city…people from rural America don’t like that). Your kids were too busy doing, well, anything else, to listen to you this morning. You’re amazing little fluffy best friend got into that garbage again. Coworkers are pretending to be in high school again as the smell of drama and gossip fills the air.
It is always something.
See, this problem dates all the way back to when our lovely ancestors, Adam and his life partner, Eve, broke the perfect peace and relationship with God that he originally created when he created, well, everything. God created everything in the first place with peace in mind. And every day since that fateful choice under the fruit tree in the garden we have messed this peace up. Not a day goes by that we don’t exchange the peaceful intentions of Yahweh for our own selfish desires and self-worship. Statements like, “Oh, you did NOT just say that to me” and “Do you know who you’re dealing with” come to mind and at least to our hearts. Not a year goes by when nations are not waring in the name of peace.
The peace we’re all longing for, we cannot attain it.
It’s amazing that no matter how hard you or I try to achieve peace in relationship with other folks, critters, or creation, it doesn’t work. At least it doesn’t for the long haul. We try so many things to mitigate future conflict or analyze and work through existing conflict, mostly to no avail. The company I work for will always have a need for Human Resources personnel not only to handle the paperwork of hiring hew folks but to keep all of the grown up teenagers from stepping out to the parking lot during lunch and pretending they are MMA fighters. Our church subscribes to and teaches a curriculum called Peacemakers, biblical peacemaking, because even (and sometimes worse) in the church we all fight like my two elementary school aged boys. And most of the time we squabble over things that are so insignificant and meaningless.
There’s a good solid reason that we can’t attain lasting peace with anyone or anything. We broke something that we have no power to fix.
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
I spent only a couple of short minutes searching through the Biblical text for “peace” and three of the first instances in the New Testament already leave us with the knowledge that Jesus alone has the power and will to (or not to) bring/issue peace to people and to the rest of his creation. The power to bring peace to you and I and to this world can only be found in Christ.
Our teaching peacekeeping in our churches and conflict resolution in our workplaces. Our putting our children in the same large shirt until they decide to get along. Our futile attempts to “be nice” to other nations and give in to everything OR to build up a huge military in an effort to make war just not worth it for other nations. All of these things are by themselves completely powerless to bring actual and lasting peace.
The reason this is true is that our lack of peace is chiefly with the God who created us. That broken peace is merely being lived out in our everyday actions and relationships. Do you get it? The reason you can’t get along with Judy in accounting isn’t because of mere personality differences. Rather it is because you have a black heart. Lol. Okay, that may come off as harsh. Only when you and Judy are willing to each allow Christ to fix the broken peace that you have created between you and he…only then will you have the clarity of thought and identity that it takes to achieve true peace with Judy.
In our sin, God is the most offended party. Always has been. Always will be. Until we can see and then acknowledge our sin and broken relationship with the Father and King, we will never find peace inside ourselves or in the everyday things of life.
Christmas is coming up quickly. Part of what we celebrate this time of year is the peace that comes with seeing, confessing, and repenting of our sins, firstly against God, then with others. Jesus came so that peace might be available to you.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
So, as you jump head-first into fun family conflict this Christmas season, let us remember the peace that Jesus came to provide for us. This peace that passes all understanding. The peace of knowing you’re relationship with the Father has been redeemed and is being restored!