Seek peace and pursue it.
—1 Peter 3:11b
God's kingdom is a kingdom of peace. That's sometimes hard to imagine when we see so much conflict in our world. War, poverty, crime, domestic violence, and even the simple arguments that fray the connections between ourselves and others keep us from experiencing God's kingdom of peace.
When conflict happens in the world, in our workplace, or in our families, we find ourselves finding ways to feel justified in our separation. We sometimes get to the point where we no longer even want to resolve our differences. We seem happier rooted in the "right-ness" of our own position than in modifying our opinions in order to be at peace with others.
Imagine what might happen if the next time we had an argument with our co-worker, we actively sought peace instead of avoiding their presence or trying to undermine them, or speaking to them angrily. We might be surprised to find our soul expanding with joy rather than being crimped by malice.
It isn't really that hard to seek peace and pursue it. The key is trusting that any mistreatment we receive at the hands of others is taken up into the heart of God. We don't need to hold onto hurt.
Instead of focusing on how we've been mistreated, we can choose to look for goodness in our co-worker. It is surely there. When we remember that those who oppose us are more like us than different, we easily notice their goodness. When we desire to experience that goodness, we will find ourselves walking into our co-worker's office with a smile of blessing, rather than a face hardened with the creases of anger.
Peace really comes easily. It comes when we let go and look for goodness.
Gracious God, when conflict rages around me, let me look for goodness and shine a light on it.
Copyright ©2009 Cleophes Carter, Jr.