“When you enter a house, first say ‘Peace to this house.’” Luke 10:5
The promise of peace came to us, wrapped in rough cloths and laid in a humble manger. This Baby was God in human flesh, and He is our hope and our peace. As we’ve considered this Advent week of peace, we have focused on peace with God, peace in times of fear and peace in the face of the frustrations of life. One major cause of frustration is – well – the people in our life. How can we have peace in our human relationships? Let’s see what God’s Word has to say.
God made you and me as very different people. We all have our own opinions, tastes, preferences and ideas. Yet God calls us to live together in peace. Sometimes relationships become strained and feelings are hurt. Yet God calls us to live together in peace. What is important to me may not be as important to someone else in my family. Yet God calls us to live together in peace.
Paul gave some very good advice about living in peaceful relationships. He said to “honor one another above yourselves” (Rom. 12:10). “Do not be proud” (v. 16). ”Bear with the failings of the weak” (Rom. 15:1). “Comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1:4). “[Speak] only want is helpful for building others up according to their needs” (Eph. 4:29). And most especially “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). This is how we “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Col. 3:15). Paul issued this important perspective: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everybody” (Rom. 12:18) Hebrews 12:14 makes it even more personal: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men.” That certainly brings it right to my doorstep. I am to make peace with others a priority, to pursue peace and keep a humble attitude toward others.
Jesus prayed that His followers would have a spirit of unity. This comes when we are, first at peace with God, and them at peace with our fellow Christians. No doubt we will have differences of opinion. Baskin Robbins doesn’t feature 31 flavors of ice cream because everyone likes chocolate. God made us all unique, with different passions and gifts and quirks. But we all share one very important thing: we are all made in the image of God, and that is the place to begin building peace with one another.
Holy Father, I choose to live in peace with others, my family, my friends, my co-workers and the stranger you will send my way today. Help me to put peace with others at the top of my “To-Do List” today. Amen.