“Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it.” Hebrews 12:14
Peace, it is so easy to loose when you are around people. It can be tempting to let other people’s actions impact our internal peace. We don’t have control over others, so we have to pause and realize we are the only person we have control over. God tells us to try to be at peace with everyone.
The Bible has much to say about living in peace, but the one that came to mind as I pondered the above passage is “Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody.” Romans 12:18
God asks us to do everything possible on our part to stay at peace. We call called to be peace makers, not simply peace keepers. Sometimes peace makers have to set a boundary and walk away because we don’t have control over others. That may be what is possible on our part to live in peace.
Shortly before my father passed away, my grandmother and I had words. I was young, and easily can admit my actions and words were wrong. While I spoke truth, it was not in love. I hurt her and my father with my words. I apologized, but my grandmother was not willing at the time to accept my apology. After my father passed away, she cut off all ties with me.
I continued to attempt to reconcile for two years. I would send her pictures of her great grandchildren and try to involve her as I could, it was met with deaf ears and closed arms. I kept her picture in my house and always let my children know where she lived as we passed her house, but also that I was not welcome but one day I hoped they would meet her, as she had cared for two of them when they were young.
Eventually she responded with a threat of legal action if I contacted her again. I didn’t need that; I knew I had done everything possible to try to make peace with her. Without ill feelings towards her, I took the step back and stopped trying to engage her.
I didn’t know that step back would last for two decades. My niece would often let me know how she was doing, but I followed her request. Then one day, I felt prompted to reach out again. I sent a short letter, a few weeks later she responded back and asked for me to come by. Eventually, she was able to meet all her great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren that were born. Within the year, she passed away. I was able to be with her the morning that she died.
I was able to live in peace because I tried. I was willing to do everything I could. I drew closer to God during those years without my grandmother. He changed my heart. He humbled me and then when the time was right I believe He prompted me to reach out with the words to say. He gave me the prick edge of walking with her through her final months so that I would have peace knowing that we reconciled.
God has used me in the ministry of reconciliation more times that I probably remember. However it started with being willing to live at peace and make peace wherever possible in my own life. I am grateful to be able to live in peace and know it is only by His hands that is possible.
Prayer – Lord, thank You for helping me to live and walk in peace. Thank You for the gift of reconciliation and restoration in my family and in the lives of those I have worked with and ministered to, it is a blessing to watch You work. Lord, I pray for those who are not living in peace, show them what is possible on their part, and give them the strength to do it. Lord, for those who are living in broken families, I pray You minister to them and bring healing and restoration. Help them to be ministers of reconciliation and make the path for them. In Jesus name. Amen.