Summary: We are called to make and maintain peace
Conflict is part of our lives here on earth. Our Lord Jesus Himself said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” The question is not if but when are we going to have conflicts. If you notice it, a small issue can even escalate into a big fight. It seems making peace is easier said than done. Is it really possible to resolve conflicts? Is peace really doable? This morning we will talk about “Conflict Resolved.” Our Lord declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Again, to make it easy to remember, I summarize this message with the acronym P-E-A-C-E. Let us pray…
Why do we have conflicts? James 4:1 made this diagnosis: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” That means we have conflicts within which leads to conflicts outside. These conflicts within us are a result of our spiritual conflict with God. That’s why to resolve conflicts, we must have PEACE with God first. According to Romans 5:1, “since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” We were made right with God when we accepted our Lord Jesus as our Savior. Thus, we now have peace with God. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us… when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…” We are no longer in conflict with God. And when we have peace with God, we can now experience “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, [which] will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Once we have settled the conflict inside of us, we can now deal with the conflicts outside of us.
Now that doesn’t mean that once we are Christians, all our conflicts are automatically resolved. That’s far from the truth. But once we settle our differences with God, we are in the best position to settle our differences with others.
“E” stands for EXERT efforts to make peace. Romans 14:19 say, “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” However, we tend to pursue peace at all costs. But note that before saying “Blessed are the peacemakers…” our Lord declared that “Blessed are the pure in heart…” When one is pure in heart, he becomes a peacemaker.
Dr. John MacArthur Jr. wrote, “We all want to avoid needless strife, whether at home, at work, or wherever, but if we avoid it to the point of sacrificing truth, then we compromise our principles, and we don’t have peace at all—we have just a truce, a cease-fire, a cold war, a time to reload… You have not made peace between two people unless they have seen the sin, the error, and the wrongness of the bitterness and hatred and have resolved to bring it before God and make it right. Then peace comes through purity.”
Hebrews 12:14 commands us, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” We are to spare no effort for both peace and purity. That means peace will not come easy. We give our best effort to win peace. We extend our hand to reconcile. And we must keep on extending it even if the person we are in conflict with refuses to take it.
Now Romans 12:18 is very realistic: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Note that we are to make peace as much as possible as far as it depends on us. Yes, ideally, we are not to give up even if our efforts for peace are rejected. But it appears it is not always possible to live at peace with people. If we feel that our principles will be compromised or the pursuit for peace is not doing us or the other person any good then we back off for a while. We cannot please all people.
That takes wisdom. That’s why we need to ACCEPT the need for God’s wisdom. James 3:17-18 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, [note the progression from purity to peace] gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.” Note that peacemaking involves wisdom. Allow me to share a helpful diagram that I adapted from a marriage seminar in International Graduate School of Leadership.