When we come into an active relationship with the Lord, where we abide in the vine, one of the gifts we receive is peace. Not only do we have eternal peace with God, but we are also to experience peace as part of our day to day living. (See Peace Is Mine). When we co-operate with the Holy Spirit, peace is a product, outcome or fruit of our lives. And as we will see today, peace becomes a characteristic of our relationships with others.
I do not agree with the concept of keeping the peace and not addressing issues in relationship, that is merely avoiding confrontation or arguments. Many use this excuse so as to stay comfortable and not recognize that issues have to be dealth with. Sometimes being a peace keeper in a home or environment means exactly that: working at keeping peace in our relationships. It implies work, something that has to be maintained.
We are instructed to have peace rule in our lives.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col 3:15)
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
Then we are to make an effort to let peace rule in our relationships.
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” – Rom 14:19
How much effort have you put into maintaining peace in your life, in your household, in your relationships?
Strife is defined as bitter disagreements, discord, antagonism, conflict, a lack of agreement or harmony, bickering, quarreling, friction, disagreement or discord. For more on strife in scripture and how to deal with it, read “Avoid Strife of Any Kind.”
“It is to one’s honour to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” – Prov 20:3
Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. – Prov 13:10
As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. – Prov 26:21
Strife is a characteristic of the world we live in. People are always at “war” with someone. How many people do you know, who don’t have a bone to pick with someone?
2 Tim 3:1-5 “But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
Strife is characterised by fighting for one’s own perceived rights. Where there is strife, there is no peace. The Holy Spirit does not operate where there is strife, it grieves Him. (Ephesians 4:25 – 5:10 read the whole section to find out what behaviour grieves the Holy Spirit.)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:1-2
Decide today to do whatever you need to do, to maintain peace around you.
Rom 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
- Keep a clean slate
- Talk about the elephants in the room
- Keep communication channels open
- Take a deep breath, count to ten. But make the relationship more important than your mood.
- Have intervention meetings – prevent problems before they happen.
- Forgive what needs to be forgiven
- Ask for forgiveness where necessary
- Adjust your behavior where it needs to be adjusted.
As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
For Peace to be Mine it means I work at maintaining peace.
- We have regular family meetings to talk about our lives and things that are bothering us. To be really honest, the meetings are not enjoyable, but we all agree that they are good for our relationships and our family as a whole. They force us to speak about things and in many situations have helped us not to hurt each other by our behaviour and words. Could your family benefit from meeting to discuss issues in the family?
- When last did you and your husband/ wife sit down to talk about the health of your marriage? Have you reviewed and set goals for your lives together? Not talking about the marriage and the future, is the number one reason why marriages break down in long term marriages that face empty nests and job losses.
- So many friendships break down because of a misunderstanding between the parties and most of the time it is just because of differing value systems, or personalities. Good friends, regularly talk about the friendship to iron out misunderstandings or differences. Don’t wonder at a friendship and it’s health, talk about it!
- If your conscience is bothering you in a particular relationship, do everything you can to set it right, work for reconciliation and most importantly, make restitution.
Lord help me to see and recognize that a lack of peace because of strife, unforgiveness, bitterness or anger is not part of your design for my life. I know that there are times I have ignored the effect of strife in my life and been slow to make peace, no more Lord. Help me to work at peace in all of my relationships. Help me to live out Your standard of love, patience and humility, a peace maker in the world around me. I declare that all my relationships function in a peaceful environment.