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Scripture: (James 3:13-18 )

Keeping the peace isn’t always easy is it? Some days are better than others, and some relationships can go a long time without any conflict. But then one day someone takes the last two chimichangas without even offering to leave one for you and peace goes right out the window!

In his letter to the Romans Paul wrote, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Rom 12:8 ) But even he wasn’t able to keep the peace all the time. Often it wasn’t his fault. Again, and again, in the book of Acts we see Paul being driven out of one city or another because someone had gotten offended by his message and decided to break the peace. And in Acts 15 , we find Paul and Barnabas having an argument about John Mark. In fact, “Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care.” (Acts 15:39-40 )

Peace can be hard to keep. Even when we’re trusting God and trying to do the right thing, conflict, and competition, and disagreements can and do arise. But peace is worth the effort we spend to keep it. Our brothers, and sisters, and spouses, and children, and everyone else in our lives are counting on us to do all we can to maintain it. And the payoff is great. James wrote it this way, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:18 )

So, let’s follow Paul’s advice. Let’s do all that we can to keep the peace with everyone in our lives. Sure, that means you’ll have to accept less than you deserve sometimes. It also means choosing the high road even when you’re right sometimes. But that’s ok. “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matt 5:9 )

Questions:

  1.     Anger management is easier for some than others. It tends to get easier the older we get and the longer we follow Christ. What do you do to keep your anger in check?
  2.     We are called to love everyone, but everyone doesn’t make it easy. Some people are very hard to like. What can you do to find the best in others even when others make it hard?
  3.     If we don’t have respect for each other we won’t have lasting peace. Common ground helps, but in some ways we are very different. What do you do to respect the differences of others?
  4.     Doing all we can to keep the peace doesn’t mean we keep the peace at all costs. When is it acceptable to put peace at risk as a disciple of Jesus?

Optional Questions:

  1.     Is there someone in your life that you need to make peace with? Is there anything you could do today to bring peace back to that relationship?
  2.     Are you at peace with yourself? Have you been able to forgive yourself for the worst things you’ve done?