Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
I am still thinking here about the very difficult debates raging through the church today over the same-sex issues and what scripture says (or what it does not say) about the issue. It occurs to me that seeking peace with each other around this issue has less to do with WHAT we have to say and much more to do with our HEARTS as we engage each other in this conversation.
Peace can be a tricky thing. As high a value as scripture makes it, as many times as we are instructed to pursue it among God’s people, the way toward peace and the way toward conflict often move in the same direction. That makes it tricky.
Peace, you see, is NOT necessarily just the absence of conflict. As long as people are involved, there will be conflict…there will be disagreement…and there will be hurt feelings. In the midst of those things, peace does NOT require moving away from each other. Rather, peace requires moving toward each other. It requires having difficult conversations…even painful conversations. Avoiding those conversations may bring a temporary peace, at least it may feel more peaceful for a short season, but the long term result is just the opposite of peace…it is chaos and frustration and complication.
So, the first point here is that “pursuing peace” often requires moving toward the conflict rather than away from it…moving toward the difficult conversation rather than waiting in the wings and allowing the pain to fester over time. The problem, then, is how to tell the difference between “pursuing peace” and fueling a fight. Both are …