Peace That Builds Up in A Crumbling World
Attaining peace sounds like a proposition that is near impossible to achieve. In today’s world where access to each other is easier than ever, there is increasing division and fragmentation of society. How do we make peace and live in peace with one another?
Peace Comes and Gives
As Christmas time approaches, we are reminded that peace came on earth. What does this mean? Jesus is our peace. In John 14:27, Jesus assures his disciples with the peace only he gives saying,
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
The coming of Jesus and giving of peace present us with an idea. Making peace and living in peace usually follow the coming of someone who is willing to give peace. Making peace means bringing peace where there is conflict in the same way that through Jesus Christ, God and man are reconciled.
Do we know Jesus Christ, our source of peace? Are we willing to share Jesus Christ with others? We need to decide to be a presence and giver of Christ our peace.
In the process, we need to give ourselves for others — being where the conflict is, meeting with offended parties and giving time and effort to the reconciliation work. On the other hand, our adding to the conflict through prideful and angry words and actions, and our silence and avoidance in the face of evil and conflict mean we are absent and are not able to share Christ our peace.
Peace Builds Up in a Crumbling World
Jesus assures his disciples of his peace in John 14:27 after he tells them that he will leave them one day. The Greek origin of “peace” which Jesus spoke in John 14:27 (eirēnē) does not simply mean the absence or ceasing of conflict but the making of something or someone whole even in the middle of conflict.
The peace of Jesus Christ makes us whole in times of great trouble. The peace of Jesus Christ builds us up when the world all around us and within us is crumbling.
For us who come and give the peace of Christ, we need to hold on to two assurances: that Jesus Christ our peace makes us whole and that Jesus Christ is the peace others need to make them whole too. It can be heartbreaking and sometimes frustrating to see what hatred and hurts our fellow human beings go through whether they are the culprit or the victim. That is why we need to rest in the peace of Christ before we share his peace with others.
I have been blessed with insight on this as I journey with my fiancé these past months. I share these with her permission and love for you. A day after we got engaged May of this year, my dear fiancé Maur was confined with what seemed to be case of a gastrointestinal illness which later turned out to be one of many terrible symptoms of a psychosomatic disorder. Since May, I have witnessed Maur’s many troubles both from the outside and from within. I have seen how she had been beaten up and left exhausted by her illness. There were instances when we felt overwhelming fear and sadness and there were days we wondered how we could rightfully love each other. I thank God for his mercy and healing as Maur is now on the upward swing of her treatment towards complete healing. Please continue to pray for us that God’s work in our lives will be accomplished. I thank God that the overwhelming peace of Christ enabled me to help comfort and encourage Maur through this trying season.
I profess that if I did not have faith in Jesus Christ and who he is, anchored on God’s word, I would not be able to come and point her to Christ our peace. I had to learn lessons along the way which I wish to share with you.
The simplest lesson is that of being present.
Surely, we are not Jesus Christ, but we can be the instruments of his reign in the lives of others. People with illness and other forms of struggles need our presence by their side, holding their hand and empathizing with them, sometimes even more than trying to say something to them. This lesson humbled me as it exposed my restlessness because of my personality, my own expectations and at times prideful desire to make things happen.
Holding on to the peace of Christ slowed down my pace, taught me to be silent and taught me patience.
Another lesson is how the peace of Christ comes with his love.
The love of Jesus Christ gives selflessly. When we spend time being with people, when we give to them, we are not to expect anything in return. This is a painful lesson. There will be times we just need to keep giving and giving and for me that meant rearranging my schedule to be with her more, encouraging her through hope-filled words and serving her in creative ways I thought I was not capable of doing.
Third lesson is that giving the peace of Christ means seeking his truth in our lives.
The peace of Christ comes through truth-filled advice. Maur and I have been blessed to receive Christian counsel that encouraged us to seek clinical help. Not everyone is open to such measure, perhaps fearful of the stigma unfairly attached with sensitive illnesses. The combination of medical therapy and Christian counseling have wonderfully helped Maur.
The peace of Christ brings his presence, love and truth that builds up the most troubled among us.
Maur and I have met new friends along the way, even those opening to us about their own struggles and conflicts these past months. There are many people we know who need the peace of Christ. My prayer for us is that we receive and live by Jesus Christ who is our lasting peace. And may the coming and giving of Jesus Christ in our lives lead us to come and share the peace of Christ with others.