“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan
We live in a world where conflict has become part of us. Conflict occurs within an individual as different choices are made daily. Inter-personal conflicts also occur in different spheres of life and some escalate to domestic violence and gang violence. Communal conflicts also occur resulting in clashes and war as the case of Russia and Ukraine. In all of these, Ronald Reagan of blessed memory advises that we should be able to handle conflict by peaceful means.
The apostle Paul prays that peace be multiplied to us – “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2nd Peter 1:2). We have a role to play in multiplying peace wherever we find ourselves. As I was meditating on this article, it was laid in my heart that we can multiply peace by:
Putting the Lord of peace first on the issues of our lives and relationships;
Advocating for peace;
Constantly preventing and resolving conflicts and
Put the Lord of Peace first: In all our dealings, it is important to believe and recognize the major role God plays in enthroning peace (See Isaiah 26:3). God is the source of peace and His language is peace (See 2nd Thess. 3:16).
“I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace unto His people and to His saints.” (Psalm 85:8)
So, anyone connected to Him taps the virtues of peace. God desires that His children enjoy all-round peace. One of God’s great names is Jehovah Shalom. Shalom – (shaw-lome’), is a Hebrew word translated as peace. According to Strong’s concordance, it means completeness, soundness, and welfare. It is derived originally from the word shalam (shaw-lame’), which means to make amends or to make whole.
“Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah Shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” (Judges 6:24)
Putting the Lord of peace first means that we need to allow Him to dwell in us by receiving Jesus Christ into our hearts. We need to learn, prioritize and apply His ways, methods, principles and character while obeying His laws as we relate people around us. Loving and obeying His laws and principles found in the Bible bring peace.
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165)
Eliminate anxiety: Medical experts have explained that anxiety disorders can cause rapid heart rate, palpitations, and chest pain. It may also lead to increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. God is aware of this, so in the midst of economic and other problems, He advises us not to be anxious about anything and present our problems to Him so that we can have inner peace.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Advocate for peace: When you advocate for peace, you publicly recommend or support peace. So, we all need to be peace advocates – praying for, speaking and preaching peace at all times.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122:6)
A peace advocate prays for the peace of individuals, couples, families, communities and nations. With the help of the Spirit of God, you can always speak peace (See Isaiah 52:7).
Constantly prevent and resolve conflicts: A conflict is a serious disagreement or argument that may last for some time. It is important to prevent, mitigate or resolve conflicts. We prevent conflicts from escalating or worsening. We can prevent conflicts through respectful communication, by being open, patient and flexible. Not being judgmental and confrontational are other ways of preventing conflicts. We can resolve conflicts by identifying and addressing the source of conflict and through mediation, dialogue, arbitration, peace agreements, negotiation, to mention but a few ways.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:8)
Eschew hatred: In many instances, extreme dislike and ill will have caused and worsened all levels of conflict. Loving ourselves and our neighbors would enhance forgiveness, justice and tolerance while enthroning peace. Esau of old forgave Jacob after he stole his blessings and both of them lived peaceably afterwards (See Genesis 27; 33).
Peace is a key component of God’s Kingdom (See Romans 14:17) and God’s children enjoy all-round peace. So, if you are yet to join the family of peace, say this prayer of salvation: Lord Jesus, I accept that I am a sinner. Forgive me of my sins. Come into my heart. I receive You as my Lord and Savior; I believe that You came, died for me and rose again to save me. Conform me to Your likeness. I declare that I am born again. Enfold me with Your peace. Amen!