“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
‘Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 3:8-12,14-18
Pursuing and keeping peace is hard work. Bless, have, do not, keep, turn away, seek, pursue, regard. With peace, there is no option, but command as God’s children in the world. And it is not simply the result of being calm and peaceful ourselves, sitting back and keeping friction at bay as best we can. Peace does not occur naturally. It requires an active quest, countering the evil, angst, and reviling that prevails, and taking up and going after what is too often elusive.
Thankfully, we are not left alone to figure out and muster up this pursuit. Jesus, who has brought peace to every believer through the cross, both compels and equips by depositing His peace that passes understanding within us. He who reconciled us to Himself by His blood enables us to reconcile with others by the power of that same blood. By His Spirit we lay down our rights, gruffness, and self-interest in living sacrifice. (John 14:27; 16:33; Ephesians 2:14-16; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 1:19-20)
When we honor Christ as Lord in our hearts, He rules over their domain: emotional responses to slander and suffering, the words from our tongues when confronted with vitriol, our demeanor when we’re pinched or opposed, ignored or criticized. He guides our minds with reason and hope. He gives grace to issue love, tenderness, humility, and respect. To pursue peace.
In what instances or situations am I most prone to spiritual inertia, where just the opposite is required? When it comes to promoting peace in turmoil or conflict, does fear, or laziness, or apathy, or fatigue cause me to give up, or give in? Have I yielded full rein to my Lord’s gentleness, righteousness, and unifying Spirit?
Lord, fix me on caring about, and living for, your will and not flesh passions, so Your peace is my pursuit and joy. (1 Peter 4:2)