The Quest for Peace
November 06, 2011


The Quest for PEACE                            

 

It’s a priceless treasure that we in Ireland have been searching for and trying to lay hold of for generations.  The Arabs and Israelis have likewise been seeking it as have the different ethic and religious groups in the Balkan states, in the Indian sub-continent and in Africa.  In fact it is something that all people groups and all nations have been earnestly seeking for years and are still seeking today. 

 

It is something that is also sought by many families where for whatever reason conflict has entered the home and is threatening to ruin (indeed sadly has, in many cases, already ruined) many marriages and many relationships.

 

It is also something that many of us as individuals seek, finding ourselves for one reason or another constantly on edge, ill at ease, and worrying about situations we are facing or now we are going to have to face at some point.

 

What is this elusive treasure, a treasure which many would dearly love to possess?  It is PEACE. 

 

We in Ireland are currently in the middle of a so-called peace process. The aim of this process is to try to identify the underlying reasons why relationships between the two main communities in this land have broken down and how those issues that are causing conflict can be fully and satisfactorily resolved.  Time alone will tell whether our politicians and whether we whom they represent are willing to agree and accept terms which will ultimately lead to peace.  Like many who grew up through the worst days of the troubles it is my hope and prayer that our children and their children will be able to grow up and to live their lives in an environment of peace.

 

However, even if we were to somehow achieve political peace and even if much of the personal conflicts in family life were resolved to the extent that on the whole we enjoyed peace in our families, there is another peace that deep down most of us long for and in one way or another are seeking and that is peace with God. Even those who deny the existence of God want to enjoy an inner peace, a desire that I believe cannot be satisfactorily explained when God is removed from the picture.

 

Because of sin our relationship with God has been broken. Things between us and God are not what they should be and unless and until the cause of the problem (sin) is dealt with reconciliation is impossible. The question is “How do we deal with the problem of sin?”  “How can this barrier to peace be removed?”  

 

Unlike human peace accords (whether international or familial) which are always negotiated agreements between the alienated parties, the peace accord which can  solve the breakdown in our relationship with God is not one that has been established as a result of negotiation and agreement between God and us.  If we want peace with God we have to accept it on His terms and only on His terms.  What are those terms?  God holds out to us the offer of peace to us on the basis of us acknowledging and confessing our sin to Him, repenting of our sin and by personal faith receiving His Son Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.  Two thousand years ago God sent His Son, Jesus,  into this world to deal with the problem of our sin. Jesus did so by living a perfectly righteous life and by laying down his life as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus did everything that was needed for us to experience peace with God and for us to enter into and enjoy that peace we must rely on and put our hope in Jesus. We do not need to add to what Jesus has done.  He has reconciled us to God through the blood of his cross  (Colossians 1v20-22).  The apostle Paul writes about this wonderful peace in Romans 5v1 – “Therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”  

 

When we experience the wonderful blessing of peace with God through faith in Jesus, we also enjoy peace from God which in turn leads to the peace of God filling our hearts and our minds.

 

Important as it is to pursue peace with one another whether it is peace between individuals, peace within our families or peace within society and between nations, it is more important to seek and to come to know peace with God.  Only when a person come to know such peace will they really enjoy true inner peace no matter what is happening around them.   Jesus said “my peace I give unto you…let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

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