Making Peace, Minimizing Trouble

Proverbs 17

Conflict happens “naturally” but it is not natural; think about Creation – order, not chaos; harmonious interaction between all elements of nature; by God’s design all was made to work together peacefully. Sin changed all that. Since the Fall, peace does not occur “naturally”:

Rom. 8:7 “the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God”

Eph. 2:15-16 “that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God”

Rom. 1:29-31They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

Beginning with Cain, mankind born natural enemy of God and his people (at least); obviously it’s expressed in differing degrees, more noticeable when the subject is “religion”, morality, right and wrong.

But it didn’t take away mankind’s desire for peace, recognition that it’s a good thing, something to be encouraged and pursued. Remember 1971 Coca-Cola commercial:

I’d like to teach the world to sing
in perfect harmony.
A song of peace that echoes on
and never goes away.

It’s the real thing
what the world wants today,
That’s the way it’ll stay
with the real thing.

God’s greatest act, the hinge of history – Incarnation and Redemption – had ultimate goal of peace. Angelic announcement: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14 The ONLY way for mankind to achieve the ideal – peace with family, with others, and with God – is as redeemed people of God. Peace with God must come first; it’s out of that from which peace with all others flows.

Brief side note: world’s peace and God’s peace are different. See John 14:27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” God’s peace includes reconciliation; world has no basis for that. World’s peace merely a truce, a cessation or reduction of hostilities, a decision to stop fighting at least for the moment. True peace has as its foundation Christ’s victory over our enemies – sin, Satan and death. So, …as we strive for peace, it helps to recognize the limits especially when we’re dealing with unregenerate people. Rom. 12:18 “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” NKJV

A. peace with family

developed by right priorities about

possessions v.1

simple lifestyle, modest tastes & expectations, living within means preferred

Why? what is required to climb corporate ladder, pursue possessions

absence from home, attentiveness to job; included stress, competition

message: position/possessions of primary importance, people of lesser value

absence encourages introducing of other value systems: tv/media, peers, daycare

relationships v.6

for this to be true, for offspring to be “crown” and parents to be their “glory” or boast, relationships must have certain characteristics

good value system (preferably a biblical one) must be passed on (see Deut. 6:4-9)

respect and honor (in both directions) must be developed, then maintained as roles change

requires huge investment of time and energy – healthy relationships don’t just happen

disputes v.14

godly wisdom makes it possible to have differences without disputes; to disagree without strife

see Paul & Barnabas – Acts 15:36 ff; difference of opinion, Barnabas failed to prevail, became contentious, parted ways; did not poison relationship – “Mark …is profitable to me for the ministry” 2 Tim. 4:11

in family setting, peace more important than winning the argument; must model that for children and develop similar mindset in them

winning dispute usually fueled by pride, something not necessary for healthy competition

B. peace with others

promoted by

good listening v.4

to live at peace with others requires NOT listening to certain things

those who would speak falsely about others

those who would speak ill/maliciously/destructively about others

generally should treat others based on first-hand knowledge, not second-hand

careful speaking v.9

likewise, should not be guilty of what we’re trying to avoid

what we say of others should be designed to build people up, give grace to others

Eph. 4:29No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.” HCSB

acting justly (esp. @ home) v.15

standing up for friends is good, unless they are in the wrong; same is true of children

playing favorites, defending child even when it is unjust, promotes strife, contention, discord

same is true for condemning the “non-favorite”

will destroy peaceful relations in church, workplace, community, home

self-discipline v.27

NOT as the “sons of thunder” when Samaritans were not hospitable to Jesus!

Luke 9:54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

quick-tempered person usually adds to conflict, doesn’t have clarity of perception and thought to bring about resolution

C. peace with God

shown by

attitude toward sin v.13, 19

avoids sinning even when sinned against – does not pay back evil for evil Rom. 12:17

recognizes duty to do right regardless of actions of others

wise man understands bad behavior will be rewarded by more evil as well as God’s displeasure

sin and strife go hand in hand

the one at peace with God hates evil, avoids it at all costs; is outwardly apparent

actions toward others v.17

treatment of others not governed by circumstances – e.g., fair-weather friend

true friend/christian brother demonstrates loving concern even when it is costly

requires time, effort, material resources

behaves that way because of Jesus’ example – John 15:13Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – and understanding that the one who has been forgiven much will love much; seeLuk. 7:47

condition of conscience v.22

the clear conscience of a redeemed, forgiven saint evident in their joy

opposite true, also; guilt from unforgiven sin weighs down the spirit (see Psa. 32:3)

strong connection between heart and body: doctor to patient, “your heart is galloping like a horse”; thought that was a good thing, got better

Cherish a solemn, reverential spirit before the throne of grace. Christian joy is a deeply serious thing. The froth and lightness that passes for it deserves not the name.Bridges

May Paul’s prayer for the saints at Philippi be true for us also: Phil. 4:7And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

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