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Pastor James F. Wright
St John Lutheran Church  
Champaign, IL

Wed, Nov 1, 2006 

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Romans 12:18

I like to stand at the shoreline of a lake on a calm day.  The water is quiet and still.  It brings a feeling of peace to me.  It's a picture of how I long to feel inside, calm and undisturbed.

Peace is hard to come by.  If we're not in conflict with a co-worker or a neighbor, perhaps there is tension with a member of the family.  As long as we are at odds with another person there will be that feeling of uneasiness that breaks the calm we long for. 

The Bible tells us that there are three kinds of peace.  Peace with God, peace with others, and peace with yourself. 

Peace with God does not come by itself.  Believing in Jesus is more than being baptized, attending services, and trying to be a good person.  First of all, you must admit you are as sinner and that there is no way you can earn God's approval by what you do (Rom. 3:20).  Second, it means trusting that Jesus paid the full price for your sins when he died on the cross.  Beginning here, the peace of Christ begins to fill every part of you as the Holy Spirit guides you to depend on God and serve Him in every area of life.  What God wants for you starts to become more important than what you want for yourself.

As you draw closer to Christ, you are drawn to other Christians.  Peace is not just the absence of conflict and strife.  Jesus commanded us to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."  Love does not withdraw from others, trying to escape from conflict by abandoning those we once loved.  Love doesn't lead us to attack others with angry words and thoughts. Instead, love leads us to work through situations where conflict has set in.  It takes much effort to live in peace with others, but that's how we grow as Christ's followers.  Our source of understanding for others is the understanding God has always shown for us.

Christ wants us to learn to bear with one another, be willing to share some of the blame for conflict, and always be willing to forgive others.  We are to make every possible effort to live at peace.  That doesn't mean letting others walk all over us.  Nor can we run away.  We can't overpower others, get our way, and expect to live in peace.  We are to do everything we can to bring and preserve peace.

Unity in doctrine is one part of peace.  We must follow that doctrine by treating each other with respect and honor.

Peace with ourselves comes when we can honestly submit to God's will and know that He loves and forgives us totally.  Then we can forgive others and forgive ourselves.  Internal peace is God's gift to us when we are reconciled to God and seeking to live in harmony with others around us.

When the water is disturbed around you and peace is hard to find, work towards honoring God by seeking to be reconciled to others, admitting your own faults, and gently restoring damaged relationships.  Love shouldn't be hard to show for a Christian.  In fact, it is the most natural of responses.

Copyright 1998-2011 James F. Wright. All rights reserved.

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