Is the U.S. at war right now? I think the official answer is no, but it doesn’t feel very peaceful to me. There’s certainly no peace in our political world, and you don’t have to look far in most neighborhoods to find disharmony. Every family seems to have some kind of drama going on, and only a few of the people I know have abiding peace in their hearts.
Just as the absence of hate is not love, the absence of war is not peace. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom,” which according to my friend Dave, means “to be wholly unified with God and others.”
Peace is a choice. When I trust God . . . I mean really trust Him with the outcome of whatever is bothering me, my peace returns. I am “wholly unified” with Him because I’ve submitted my will to His. Whatever He lets or makes happen is okay by me.
Peace requires action. When I choose to trust God with whatever is stealing my peace, He immediately restores my peace. I might have to do this a hundred times in a day, but He’s always there, and the peace always returns, at least until my mind wanders back to my worries.
And what about the “and others” part?
That requires action too.
We are responsible for our behavior . . . for what we say and do. Not anyone else’s. Just ours. When we mess up (or when someone accuses us of messing up), it’s up to us to seek unity . . . to apologize and ask for forgiveness. It takes a lot of humility to say I’m sorry, especially when we don’t really think we were wrong or at fault or we think what we said or did was justified. Sometimes, it takes even more humility to accept someone else’s apology. When we let them off the hook, we lose our leverage. But if we truly want shalom, it’s up to us to humbly do all we can to be in unity with others.
Scripture: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)