“I can’t wait for others to bring me peace. I need to make the decision to bring an atmosphere of peace, shalom, into every situation I’m placed in. Yes, this is hard. And yes, I still find myself resistant to it. But this is good for me. This peace isn’t conjured up by us; it is evidence of Jesus in us. Changing us. Shifting us. Healing us.”- Lysa TerKeurst
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”- Romans 12:18 (NIV)
Lysa TerKeurst continues Chapter 13 of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget as she wisely notes that, at the end of the day, spending time processing our offender’s reason for their actions impedes our forward progress. Therefore, the apostle Paul’s instruction to Jewish and Gentile churches facing Roman persecution hold relevance for us today.
Above all, Lysa notes, Paul didn’t write his Letter to the Romans on a peaceful vacation with peaceful people and peaceful circumstances. Rather, Paul wrote this instruction in the midst of his third missionary journey. A journey filled with opposition and persecution.
So, Lysa asks, in our current world so bent on finding offense and anger, how is the peace of God possible? For the ancient Greeks, peace = the absence of hostility. However, Paul thought that peace = the atmosphere we can bring into hostility. Because of our relationship with God, this peace brings wholeness.
Hence, in John 14:27 the peace John refers to means to keep or maintain peace. Lysa adds:
“Peace is a gift God gives believers, and that gift is evidence to the world that we are different. To live peaceably in our world today seems like such a ridiculous impossibility. But when the impossible is made possible because of Jesus in us, there’s no greater testimony that can be shared. . . .
And don’t miss the context of all of this. Paul doesn’t say, ‘As far as it depends on other people bringing peace.’ Nor does he say, ‘As long as conflicts end in a peaceful way.’ No, he says, “So far as it depends on me.’ . . . Peace in my life isn’t being prevented by other people’s choices. It’s made possible by my choices.”
Today’s question: How do you foster an atmosphere of peace? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The antithesis of peace = selfishness”