PEACE OUT! (5 Keys to Consider)
In 1960, President John F. Kennedy challenged the students at the University of Michigan to serve their country and the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. As a result, the Peace Corps was established on this day, March 1, 1961.
Peace. What exactly is it? It’s a sense of calm. It’s the absence of chaos. It’s that feeling we have when all is right, and good, and positive in our lives. Unfortunately there are many things that disrupt our “peace”—illness, tension in a relationship, financial woes, job conflict, difficult teenagers, trying toddlers, stress, etc. And we can certainly be disruptors of others’ peace ourselves—when we make the comment we know we shouldn’t have, when we fail to follow through on a commitment, when we’re late or make others wait on us, when we’re insensitive to the needs of others, etc. The truth is that we can be contributors to a lack of peace for other people and vice versa. We don’t necessarily intend to be hurtful or intentionally add stress or discord to our friends and family, but somehow, in our careless, self-centered ways we can interrupt the peace of the people we love and care about.
The Apostle Paul gives us a great challenge in Romans 12:18. He writes, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” He went on to say a couple chapters later, “So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.” (Romans 14:19, HCSB).
We cannot control what other people do, what they say, how they act, or how they react. But to be sure, we can take the lead in our own behavior. We can control the things we say. We can be intentional about our conduct. We can live and act on purpose.
Let’s look at it from another angle. Let’s consider the common, every day staple of salt. Salt is a natural preservative. It adds flavor. It’s a disinfectant and purifier. Jesus said “Good salt is worthless if it loses its saltiness; it can’t season anything. So don’t lose your flavor! Live in peace with each other” (Mark 9:50, TLB).
When it comes to living at peace with each other, here are some keys:
- As for your part in it…just do it — remember, as far as it depends on YOU, live at peace with everyone.
- Pursue the things that promote peace — pursue means to proactively seek out. Peace doesn’t just happen, it takes effort on our part.
- Pursue what builds others up — again, hunt down and go after the things that build up other people.
- Be salty — be a preservative of peace, be a purifier in your conversation, disinfect your comments that might create discord.
- Peace out — what you emanate, what you project out of you, likely comes back to you.
As you think about the inception of the Peace Corps today, as you may even call to mind those you know who have served in it, may you also recall God’s Word which exhorts us to live at peace with one another. And know that the ultimate giver of peace is Jesus Himself. His desire is to bring peace into your chaos. His desire is to speak peace into every area of your peace-less situation.
Take a deep breath, relax, inhale God’s peace, and exhale God’s peace.