Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord”. Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others.
When I feel out of control, unable to solve situations or problems, left out or isolated, my first response is rarely the pursuit of peace. It’s more often the pursuit of being heard at any cost, the pursuit of getting even or, worse still, the pursuit of three hours of Netflix, chocolate and self-pity.
I have found that one of the greatest challenges of the Christian life is handling conflict in the way in which Jesus taught us: to be the pursuers of peace. This peaceful walk is not living in denial. It’s not asking us not to brush stuff under the carpet, ignore bad behavior, stay in places where we’re bullied or remain hurting and licking our wounds, but to seek peace for ourselves and with others.
This peaceful work of the Spirit is (ironically) a spiritual battleground where we require divine wisdom. Sometimes it requires honest conversations with those who hurt us. Sometimes it requires honest conversations with those in authority or those over whom we have authority. Sometimes it requires choosing to forgive people repeatedly for the same things. Sometimes it requires us walking away from people forever and still being able to forgive. Sometimes it requires silence, sometimes shouting from the rooftops. However, it always involves vulnerability, always demands a love that is courageous and ultimately always acts with the hope of better days to come.
If you are wounded or angry and you are sensing the seeds of bitterness, anger or despair in any of your relationships, work or world, then ask God to come and reveal your next words, actions or prayers.
Meet me today where I am wounded, and where pain still haunts me.
Meet me today where I am overwhelmed with guilt for things of my past.
Meet me today where I have scars of betrayals from people I have loved.
Meet me where I am angry with others and have said nothing.
Then guide my feet, my mouth, my hands and my mind into the way of peace.
Give me courage to do your will.
Renew your hope in me that things can and will be different.