What does Peace mean to you?
The cessation of all hostilities? The end of human suffering? Resolution to conflict? Ending war?
Maybe reconciling with a friend that you’ve been fighting with. Maybe for your toddler to finally go to bed. Or maybe just a good book, a cuddly blanket and some quiet?
We all want some peace (and sometimes quiet). We hope for hostilities near and far to end. We wish for an end to our worries, and an end to struggle.
I wanted to look deeper at what it means to be a peacemaker, so I started by investigating what Peace, in Biblical terms, is. I figured it would be a quick read because I was sure I already knew. I half expected one of those circular references that you sometimes find in dictionaries, such as “Peace: the state of being peaceful”. Don’t you find those definitions irritating? Defining the word with the word; thanks Merriam-Webster, glad you were there for me. But, to tell the truth, I didn’t really consult MW, I wanted a Biblical perspective, so I went to Biblical sources and was actually surprised by what I found.
Skip Moen wrote a post that summarized what my research was telling me in a great way. Our way of thinking about peace is largely based on Greek thought an philosophy, but the Hebrew way of thinking on Peace (which, by the way, is where we want to go to understand what the Bible has to say about peace–specifically peacemaking) is more about alignment with God:
“If you think your life as a struggle to get everything balanced correctly, then you are Greek. You view life’s objective in terms of the absence of struggles. The Hebrew idea of peace is quite different. For the Hebrew, peace is about harmony, not balance. Pursuing peace is about being in tune with God, not walking away from the fight…the Hebrew concept of peace does not pretend to be about escape from the war. Hebrew peace is fighting alongside God, in harmony with his battle plan.” — Skip Moen, PhD
The peace the world needs and the peace it would have are not the same thing. The peace you and I need, and the peace you and I would design, are not the same thing. What we need and what we want are rarely the same thing: and what we need, what we really, really need, is alignment with our creator.
The peace of God is rooted in and based on his sovereignty–it is inseparable from it. The peace the world desires would have nothing to do with Him at all. It would be “share a coke and a smile, get along at all costs, everything is permissible, live your own truth, and do what is right in your own eyes–and don’t judge me if you don’t see things the same way.” That kind of thinking doesn’t want anything to do with a Creator-God who would tell us that we aren’t deities in our own right, worthy of self-worship.
But the Peace God creates (the only real peace to be found, if you want to hear the truth) isn’t found in unilateral acceptance and a rousing chorus of “We are the world.” It is more readily found in “Thy will be done” and “it is well with my soul.” It is found in surrender to Jesus.
And, if the peace of God is born in his sovereignty, it is delivered in his justice. Which means, that Jesus is our gateway to peace, because he is our only means to entering into God’s justice. Any other philosophy or spiritual/physical practice that promises you peace is selling you a lie, packaged in small doses of harmony that does not last.
Have you encountered that Jesus? The Prince of Peace? The Peacemaker, the Alignment-maker?