Make Peace

‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ Romans 12:18 NIV

Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.’ (Matthew 5:9 NKJV) Take a close look at those words: God promised to bless peacemakers, not peace lovers. There’s a difference.

Peacemakers pay the price; peace lovers enjoy the benefits. Sometimes you’ve got to confront people before you can comfort them. Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple because, among other things, they were charging unfair exchange rates to those who bought lambs and turtledoves to offer as sacrifices to God. In most cases these were people who could least afford it, so Jesus decided to get involved.

One of the names given to God is Yahweh-Shalom, ‘The Lord is our peace’ (see Judges 6:24). ‘Shalom’ doesn’t denote the absence of trouble, but the peace of God in the midst of it. When we have an issue with someone, Jesus said we should take certain steps. First, go and try to resolve it privately. If that doesn’t work, take someone with you who can help. If that fails, take it to the church leadership. And if the person still refuses to be reconciled, then love them and leave them in God’s hands (see Matthew 18:15–17). It may not be a How-to-Win-Friends-and-Influence-People approach to conflict resolution, but it’s God’s way.

Paul said, ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ For example, Paul was willing to leave off eating certain foods that were offensive to others (see 1 Corinthians 8:13), but he wasn’t willing to tolerate troublemakers in the church (see Romans 16:17).

So you must know when to make waves and when to make peace.

SoulFood: Est 4:13–5:3, Matt 6:16–18, Mark 2:18–22

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Esther 4:13–5:3 ()

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13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

5:1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, in front of the king's quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace. And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.”

Matthew 6:16–18 ()

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16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Mark 2:18–22 ()

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18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

Sun 17 March, 2019


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