Monday, September 7, 2009

Peace & Conflict

So I have been thinking a lot about peace lately. Probably because I just had a conflict with someone, that went badly & am doing some "searching" to see what happened.
I want to be realistic about peace. I don't want to be one of those guys who thinks that he is always right & is never to blame for things, but I also don't want to be the guy who always feels in the wrong. I want to be realistic.

So regarding peace, the Bible teaches, "as far as it concerns you, live at peace with all men." -Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14.

So what does the word "peace" mean?
1. It comes from the Greek word eirene, which comes from the words eiro, which means "to join". In Hebrews it implies looking out for the welfare of another, in Romans it implies more of bringing peace.
2. In Hebrew, peace describes a state of completeness, soundness, well-being of the complete person.
3. Also often in the New Testament, it has to do with tranquility, hope, trust & quiet of the soul & mind, brought about by a reconciliation to God (Luke 2:14; Matthew 5:9; John 14:27).

Another passage that comes to mind on peace is Jeremiah 6:14-15.

"They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, 'Peace, peace,' But there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD."

So, going further. Is the Christian called to live at peace by:
a. Being a peace-keeper. By not bringing up an issue.
b. Being a peace-maker. Not searching for conflict, but if there is a conflict, dealing with it.

I prefer a. That way, I can ignore people who are off the mark, struggling, or hurting themselves. Dealing with people who are messed up is often very hard & often they bite back. It would be wonderful to sweep problems under the mat & ignore them. It would be wonderful to just let people make their own choices & just worry about my choices. If someone wants to screw up their lives living in bitterness, or using drugs, or cheating on a spouse, then have at it! We are called to peace.
However, I have a hard time submitting to a. Inside of me there is a gnawing. And in the Bible there seems to be a calling for us to sometimes not pretend everything is okay. Sometimes we need to warmly, patiently, gently, kindly confront people who are being destructive. The hard part is that often things blow up & there is all out war from the one who is confronted (especially in today's day and age where people are hyper-sensitive, neurotic, easily wounded, irreconcilable...aka 2 Timothy 3).
Then again, maybe option c. may be best. "C. Both A & B". There are times where we need to keep the peace, but there are times where we need to get into the mess of making peace (by the way, people who are following after Jesus often are very open to b. when they are the ones being confronted. This is something I have experienced & have been in awe from).

Regardless, I love the Greek word, how it implies "to join" & to watch out for the welfare, for what is the best for others. If confrontation is best then do it. If it is best, at that time to just have harmony, then do it. And regarding how to know when situation calls for what, maybe that is why God has called us to ask Him for help & to walk in the Spirit.



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