I Need Some Peace and Quiet
Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
Once, when I was a kid, my family headed out on a long road trip across the country. It was going to be a grand adventure and we were excited, but we were also kids, so, we were only a couple of miles down the road when the bickering began. My father said he didn’t want to hear that the whole trip, and he threatened to turn the car around and go home. We knew he was bluffing, so we kept at it. Suddenly, as we were fighting, he did what we thought he’d never do. He pulled off the interstate, turned around, and headed home. We got the message and we got really quiet. Immediately, we put aside our differences for a common goal. Mom and Dad got their peace, we got our trip, and everyone was happier for it.
I feel like this is Paul’s tone in today’s passage. The Corinthian church had apparently struggled with internal conflict, with some following false apostles. Paul prayed for their restoration and in his parting words to them, he urged them to work towards a common goal. He said that if they desired the peace of God, they needed to live in such a way that fostered peace. They couldn’t indulge in conflict and then expect that God lavish his love and peace upon them.
A lot of us have been there. We’ve participated in conflict, and then wondered why we’re so agitated. We keep up our side of an argument but then, when we feel angry, we pray for God’s calming presence in our lives.
To this, God says, If you want to know peace, joy, and love, you must live in such a way that breeds those things. God doesn’t ask that we compromise truth, but he does ask that we do our part to live in a loving relationship with those around us. We may not agree on everything, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t love those with whom we disagree. They may still maintain the conflict. We may never change them. For our part though, we’re to love, despite our differences.
Often, we cling to our disagreements, believing they’re so important. My siblings and I thought ours were important too. Today of course, I couldn’t tell you what we fought about. God must often look at us like my dad looked at us in the backseat. If we want to go where God wants us to go, sometimes we must sacrifice our pride, choosing live in love and peace with those around us.