Somebody observed that the amazing thing about disturbing the peace these days is that they could find any peace to disturb. Conflict and violence are constants in spite of all the peace talks, peace tables, peace conferences, and peace summits. From 1914 to 1918 the world engaged in “the war to end all wars” (WWI). Sadly, it turned out that war was badly misnamed. A scant 21 years later WWII began and before ending six years later some 60 million people were killed worldwide. The in quick succession came the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and now a continuing war on global terrorism. No wonder someone called the 100 years from 1900 to 1999 a “a beastly century.” That “beastly century” witnessed the death of some 200 million people directly as a result of war. And that doesn’t include “wars” that destroy peace at other levels of society – the hostility, violence, conflict, and warring between races, religions, political parties, even down to neighbors and families. And “thanks” to abortion, even the peace of the womb is invaded and shattered. Think about it – though there has been a steady decline in the number of abortions these past few years, according to gettmacher.org there were still 862,000 abortions in the U. S. in 2017. This year (2020) millions of Americans expressed outrage and alarm, claiming many of the 343,000 deaths in America’s “war” against Covid-19 could have been prevented if there had been a better policy to deal with it. Meanwhile, millions show no rage or alarm at the deaths by choice (the mother and the doctor and maybe the daddy’s choice, but never the baby’s) of 700,000 to 900,000 pre-born but very human babies each year. Call it what you will, but that sounds like a war on the pre-born to me. The prevalence of ongoing conflict perpetrated upon and between people at all levels of society brings to mind the words of Psalm 120:7 – “I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war.”
Think further about peace. King Solomon noted it doesn’t require a very high I-Q to destroy peace, at least not a very high moral / spiritual IQ. He wrote in Proverbs 20:3 –”It is honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start a quarrel.” Earlier he wrote at Proverbs 17:4 – “The beginning of strife is like releasing water. Therefore stop contentions before a quarrel starts.” How many tiny dribbles and leaks that could have easily been repaired with a little love and longsuffering early on end up escalating to roaring floods of verbal and even physical battles that fracture friendships, and kill and wreck marriages and homes? Pride, conceit, selfish ambition, marking our territory, standing on our “rights,” putting ourselves firsts – these un-Christlike attitudes can turn the church itself into a battleground and destroy peace and harmony among people in the pews. Especially during times of high stress in the church, Christians need to remember that we follow the One who is “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Christ “Himself is our peace” and He “came and preached peace” (Eph.2:14, 17). We preach His gospel which is “the gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15). Is it any wonder then the Bible tells us in Romans 14:19, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another”? Whether the issue is eating meat as it was in Romans 14 (verses 15, 16, 17, 21) or the current issue of wearing masks due to Covid-19, God help each of us to be among those who are actively pursuing and promoting things which help make for peace in the church, not among those who pursue and promote things which break peace in the church. Think about it.