Is Peace Really Possible?by Cynthia Jennings on November 16, 2021
I don’t know why this came to mind, did I read it somewhere or maybe I heard someone talk about it. Nevertheless, it was a story of a young reporter who approached an older gentleman on his 100th birthday.
"I want to wish you a happy birthday, Sir. I have just one question for you. What would you say is your greatest accomplishment in life?”
"Well," said the man, "I don't have a single enemy in the world."
"Really? That’s incredible!” responded the reporter. “What is your secret?”
The centenarian smiled and proudly replied, "I have outlived every single one of them."
It’s easy to be at peace when your enemies are no longer around. And it’s also easy to live in peace when there’s no one else around you. But that’s just not realistic.
Being honest, some people are harder to get along with than others. Let’s call them “sandpaper people” because they’re irritating and rub you the wrong way. When it comes to handling those difficult relationships, God does not want or expect us to declare war. Nor God does want us to allow our emotions to overrule us.
We, through the power of Jesus Christ and guidance of the Holy Spirit, are to control our emotions instead of allowing them to control us. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:18(ESV), “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
We are to do everything we possibly can to have a peaceful relationship with those difficult people in our lives. If nothing works, we pray for them and allow God to do the rest. We need to set our mind on peace – not winning.
God’s desire is for us to wage peace in every relationship. What’s even more amazing is the fact that God calls us to wage peace with even the roughest, most abrasive sandpaper people who come our way. Now that’s a daunting task, since sandpaper people seem to love a good fight, live to evoke angry reactions, and are fierce warriors determined to win every battle initiated by their downright irritating personalities.
Here's a life changing truth: combat is impossible when the enemy has laid down his weapons and chosen peace.
The world has its own system for working out conflict – “retaliation.” God has a different plan for working out conflict – “restoration.” The Apostle Paul was a master at conflict resolution. In 1 Thessalonians 5:13, he offers a simple but powerful command to “live in peace with each other." In Colossians 3:12-14, he paints a clear picture of what living in peace should look like:
" Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put-on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
Sounds like an impossible task, doesn’t it? It is … unless we choose to rely on and surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us. When the Apostle Paul says that we’re to "clothe" ourselves with certain characteristics so we’ll always be prepared for peace, he means we must plan ahead and make deliberate choices before the choice is actually necessary.
For example, the holidays are rapidly approaching. A “sandpaper” person will be in attendance, and you are already dreading their visit. Make the decision now to practice patience, love, and self-control during their visit. Choose to please God by how you treat them.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7 ESV).
"He" is the driving word in the verse above. Did you catch that? Our obedience to God invites Him to promote peace in our relationships – even the most difficult ones. All we have to focus on is making sure our ways are pleasing to the Lord and He will do the rest.
If you’re like me, there have been times in my life where I felt peace wasn’t possible with “sandpaper” people. In one of those moments, I sought the Lord and went before God with this prayer:
Heavenly Father in the Name of Jesus, I want to live a life of obedience to You. Make me an instrument of Your peace. Teach me to love even my enemies. As of now, I choose to surrender my stubborn will to You. I lay down my emotional weapons and choose peace.
PEARLStoPONDER: Unresolved conflict is the enemy of peace, and peace is often the casualty of unresolved conflict in relationships.
Psalm 34:12-14-- What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
John 14:27-- 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.
Romans 8:6-- For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Philippians 4:6-7-- do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.