by Arch Hoercher

The world today is full of violence and hate.  The evil perpetrated on people who do not believe as they do or of a specific race or of a specific religion is of a level that defies logic.  All you have to do is pick up a newspaper or watch the news or open up FaceBook to experience the atrocities, violence, and hate carried out against entire groups of people simply because of who they are or what they might believe.  

We can see this hate for others carried out in this country.  There are those who preach tolerance, but it is only tolerance for those who believe as they do; otherwise it is hate.  We see violence and mayhem being carried out on our streets because of differences in political ideology. 

So many people in this country as well as the world and entire governments are searching for peace.   The problem is that they do not know where to go to find actual peace.  Many believe that the government is the only place that peace will ever be found.  Too many are looking for peace in all the wrong places.  Many believe that they can find peace with wealth or things or power and influence.  It is a belief that peace is obtained through prosperity and a trouble-free life.

Real and lasting peace is found only in God.  The Biblical definition of peace pertains to the end of enmity and warfare.  The most fundamental and important peace there is, is peace WITH God.  This peace is not as easy to come by as one might think.  Our natural tendency is to want to be our own boss.  We have an instinctive hostility to God’s authority.  The way to happiness is if we are wholly in charge of our lives.  This self centered attitude leads to conflict with others.  This conflict we experience with others is because we are in conflict with God’s authority and therefore in conflict with God.

There is one fundamental truth that we need to understand, there is no peace on earth because there is no peace with God.  So how can we have peace with God?  The answer to peace with God arrived on Christmas day.  Luke 2:14 (NIV), “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”  Peace has come to the earth as an infant and His name is Jesus Christ.  Jesus (God incarnate) came to this earth as a man to provide the means by which man could have peace with God.

The first step that one must make to have peace with God is to understand that we are in conflict with God.  We need to understand that this peace with God, being reconciled to God, is not anything which we can acquire by our own power.  It is provided through the grace given to us by God through Jesus Christ.  The peace of God is given to us as a gift through the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the cross for us.  John 14:27 (NIV), “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. … I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.”  Peace is a pure gift of grace.  Jesus gave us His peace.   The world cannot give or even know this peace outside of Jesus Christ.  It is a peace that should settle all conflict or warfare in our hearts and our minds. 

So, what do we do with this peace?  Is it something we keep to ourselves?  The answer to that is an obvious “no”.   Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:9 that ALL his disciples can be “peacemakers”.  A peacemaker as far as what Jesus taught is someone who has made peace with God and understands their shortcomings and pride and have learned how to love as Jesus loved us.  This love should be shared with all we meetand has no self serving motive.  We become the peacemakers of God when we share this love.  We should be the ones defusing conflicts and facilitating forgiveness and reconciliation between people.  James 3:18 (NIV) states, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”   Colossians 3:15 (NIV), “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace… For as members of one body your are called to live in peace.”

The only source of true peace is from God.  That peace can only be known through the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace.  Those of us who are His children are challenged to be peacemakers so that those who do not know God’s peace can become acquainted with it and by the grace of God can know it.  The Christian should not be a source of conflict but a source of peace.  True and complete peace on this earth with never be known until the Lord Jesus Christ comes again and establishes His kingdom.  But in the meantime we Christians are called to be peacemakers so that as many as possible can know what true peace is.  To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.