The Christian life is a spiritual journey of total surrender to God. When He said; “pursue peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14)”, he meant, in spite of your views, opinions or perspectives of that situation, approach every situation with peace in mind. Do not think about your interest rather think about the best way to advance the kingdom of God. No matter how difficult the situation is, be the light, be the salt, be the solution and bring peace with you. This, in essence, means let go of your ego, make necessary sacrifices at every opportunity, swallow your pride and ride on God’s wings of justice.
Not in my wildest dream would I ever thought I would offend a friend so much so that she would tell me she no longer wants to be friends with me. But it happened and I tried to understand my sins but she was not forthcoming with any explanation. That situation broke me. I went home for days, cried and then prayed about it all. But I didn’t stop there, I chose to forgive the hurt my friend had caused me. Even though she chose not to be my friend anymore, I chose to make myself available for her as a friend. I continued to be myself around her and I offered to help whenever needed. Thankfully the strain between us was lifted.
An offence will always come but when it comes, how do you deal with it? Do you respond by fighting back? Do you try to explain yourself or try to talk yourself out of that situation? Do you try to justify your actions or do you just shut down completely? This is not the best way to deal with situations according to him who commissioned us to pursue peace with all men. When we find ourselves in difficult situations, God wants us to deal with it in humility and with wisdom. He wants us to respond by putting aside our ego and show the world the Christ in us. When we are being ensnared by the words of our mouth, God doesn’t want us to put up a fight. Instead, he wants us to retrace our steps back to him, retract those words and sincerely apologise for peace to reign.
One of the greatest ways to shut down the enemies is by offering peace when they expect a fight back. When the enemy accuses you and tries to attack your personality, pray for them. Don’t fight back. Don’t try to explain yourself. Don’t try to justify your actions. Sincerely apologise and take your case to God. He is the one who will fight your battle for you, let him do it. This is what it means to pursue peace with all men; to live a life of selflessness, to not consider your own feelings nor remain adamant on your rights, to render an apology first even when you are right and the other person refuses to apologise. When you have a valid cause of complaint and you are feeling justified by your actions, put aside your rightness and win that battle with humility and your obedience to God’s commandment will earn you a great reward; the Bible says ” Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). When you make peace with others your priority, you are blessed and you shall be called a child of God.
But when you respond word for word, when you slide the issue under the carpet for a revenge or when you start to keep malice with the offender, you are not being a child of God, instead, you are putting yourself up for strife, anger or violence. A child of God must respond to offence exceptionally. Jesus Christ said; “Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift“(Matthew 5:23-24). Prayer may be the master key to talking to God, forgiveness may be key to God in answering prayers but making your peace with others is definitely the key to God listening to your prayers.
It is only human to struggle with making apologies, most especially when you are on the right but like Jesus, could you respond with “father forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)”? or could you pray for those killing you with words and in deeds like Stephen, saying “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” (Acts 7:54-60)? For the sake of God who through Jesus Christ, we have been able to settle disputes and reconciled back to him, and for the sake of your well-being, would you obey and make peace with all men. Forgive where necessary and settle your disputes with others.
Times without number I have fought with the flesh surrendering to the commands of God and letting go of my hurt, rendering apologies to those who hurt my feelings and caused me so much heartache. This act in itself is demeaning in the eyes of the world but I surrender to God’s command in the pursuit of peace knowing full well that every time I put my ego aside to deny self and do the right thing before God, he is using it to mold me into the image of his dear son. One of such many incidents was to a friend whom I apologized to repeatedly during our secondary school days. Many years later I received a message from her saying, that seemingly simple act of forgiveness and letting go of my ego, saved her marriage. She often found herself at loggerheads with her husband but she humbled herself and apologised. This seed sown into her whilst growing up helped saved her marriage. When we deny self and obey God, he always uses it for his glory. Who could have known that a simple act of a teenager could save a marriage many years later?
Perhaps you are struggling with making peace with others, the following Bible Declarations have been compiled to help you. May the spoken word of God renew your mind to a state of peace even as you meditate on the word, speak it into existence and pray it through into your life in Jesus name.
Make a Declaration of Faith
- I bless God for the peace that comes only from him. Without Christ, in our lives, there will be no peace in the world. I declare that I am a peacemaker through the prince of peace who enables me to become one.
- I am a child of God. I am a peacemaker. Through Jesus Christ, I express peace unto others at all times. The Prince of Peace is my lord and saviour. He enables me to be at peace with all men. He empowers me to proclaim peace to all men and he equips me with his peace that passes all understanding.
- Henceforth, I will bring peace to the world around me. Even in the midst of problems, I will do the works of God in bringing peace to all men as he commanded.
- I am a peacemaker in the world through Christ who paid the price for my peace (Isaiah 53:5).
- Today I choose peace over problems. I will follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. I will pursue and live in peace with all men. I will make every effort to live in holiness without which no one can see God. And henceforth I shall be called a son of God (Isaiah 9:6, 1 Peter 3:11, Colossians 3:15, Matthew 5:9, Hebrews 12:14).
- As far as God gives me grace, I will live at peace with everyone not taking revenge where I have been hurt but surrendering all to God and allowing him to repay all as he deems fit. Henceforth, I will make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification of others. I will not repay anyone evil for evil. I will be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone with the help of God who lives sovereign over all (Romans 12:17-21, Romans 14:19)