War and Peace

Proverb 17: 19       NIV

He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction.

Have you ever known a person who loves to fight? I certainly have. I have known people who did not seem happy unless they were embroiled in some kind of conflict. I never understood how they could live in the midst of that turmoil. Every time I talked with them there was some new battle. To love to fight and feud with folks is to love sin. Why? Because God is peace. Hebrews 12: 14 tells us to pursue peace. We cannot operate in love with all people and at the same time be in continuous conflict.  

Ephesians 6: 15 teaches that our feet are to be shod with the gospel of peace. That must mean that we are to walk in peace. We are not told to put on the mittens of peace or the ring of peace. No, we prepare ourselves with the gospel of peace by putting on our shoes. We need that preparation because many things and people we encounter in the course of the day are going to attempt to cause angst. If we have not properly prepared then we are going to find ourselves in the tumult all day long, struggling for a breath.

Our losing our peace is only one of the casualties of this conflict though. When Jesus left the earth he left us his peace (John 14: 27). That peace was supposed to comfort us so that we would not be troubled or fearful. The other aspect of our having Jesus’ peace is that we can, and should, extend his peace to others. We are not meant to be contentious people. Instead we should be conduits of peace and blessing. We are called to be lovers, not fighters even to the point that we love, bless and pray for our enemies. We are to hold our peace in the face of trouble so that we are a source of peace for those who are in turmoil. We should live in a no conflict zone. Now, I know this is a tall order and most of us are not that advanced in our journey with Jesus but it is a laudable goal. We should shun quarrels and attempt to make and keep the peace. If we are not in peace then we have probably stepped out of God’s presence because there is always the peace that passes understanding when we are in him.  

When you find you have lost your peace, your heart is agitated or you are bothered, back up in your memory and figure out when you last felt peaceful. Then move forwards slowly and discern what event, thought or words chased the peace of God from you. Rectify the situation. Repent if it was your act that caused your peace to flee. If it resulted from someone else’s actions then pray for that person immediately. Try to see him or her from God’s point of view. See how He loves them and pray for them from that perspective. Lastly, and this is a tough one, if you find that there is a person with whom you are associated and that you just cannot retain your peace when you are with them, then give yourself some space. You must guard your peace and not be a quarrelsome person. If that person is constantly provoking you into unrest then segregate yourself from them, at least for a time. If it is a family member then try to limit the time you must spend with them and make sure you have prayed for yourself and them before the interaction. Prayer is the great peacemaker.

God likens quarrelsome behavior to sin so we must avoid it. Remember, some people love quarrels so we must guard our hearts and avoid being provoked. Peace is the calling card of the saints. Pursue peace with everyone.