BY PR EVANGELINE CHEONG
It was always a joke in my family that many Chinese families have bulging carpets because of all the bad blood, secrets and conflict swept under it. On the surface was a veneer of harmony and smiling faces in front of the family patriarch at the annual Chinese New Year reunion dinner, but the undercurrents of discord still exist beneath it all. We see it all the time.
Many may think that a lack of conflict in a family shows that there is peace and harmony. Perhaps we misunderstand Hebrews 12:14 when God tells us to “make every effort to live in peace with everyone.” So we try to avoid fights and arguments just to keep the peace. But in our hearts, we harbour resentment, frustration and hate. Is that what peace really is?
How then, can we have real peace? In our homes, our friendships, our church?
Jesus tells us about real peace in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives.” The real peace that Jesus brings to us in His work on the cross, and in His blood was a peace with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
Yet Matthew 10:34-36 sees Jesus saying ‘Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ How can that be? Bible scholar DA Carson says in his commentary of Matthew 10 that ‘there are some things which are more important even than peace. Loyalty to Jesus may sometimes cause conflict even within a family, and if so his (Jesus’) claims must come first.’
Then how does God bring peace? Real peace through Christ reunites us with God and transforms us into peacemakers: to bring peace by bringing people to God through Christ and also to live out the love & life that we experience through knowing the God who loved us in Christ.
As children, my brother and I used to fight like cats and dogs daily. By God’s mercy, real peace came when we both came to know the Lord in our 20s and not only did we fight less, I remember nights where we just sit and talk about God’s word together. We still fight at times because we are very different but I’m still learning to humble myself to talk things through. Undoubtedly, as we live out the love from above which is patient, kind, humble; not jealous, boastful or rude (see 1 Cor 13), being transformed does contribute to a certain amount of peace within families and churches. Yet we still await the full experience of real peace as we patiently wait for the return of our Lord and, in Him, our full perfection in conformity to Christlikeness.
Dear friends, do you know the peace of Christ that reconciles you to God?
If not, speak to someone today about who Jesus is and what He has done for you.
If you do, dear brothers and sisters, let us not give up real peace for counterfeit peace.
Let us not avoid the conflict that Christ brings into our relationships so that we may bring His real peace and love to those we love. May the God of love and peace be with us all.
2 CORINTHIANS 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.