The world is looking for peace. Whether it is in the children’s playroom or at an international negotiating table, peace is described as the absence of conflict. Thus, terms are sought to minimize or eliminate conflict. But this is a futile pursuit. A mom knows that discord and self-service rules young hearts. The sad reality is that diplomats attempting to negotiate peace treaties ignore this most basic truth: people are born at war with God and with each other. The human heart will not naturally be drawn to peace. Conflict is the natural disposition of the heart. Conflict comes because we are born driven to gratify the cravings of our bodies. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
This means that it is dangerous to identify peace as the absence of conflict. A forced or negotiated peace may end the external conflict but the inner turmoil remains. This is true for children as well as for the summits of world leaders. As long as the human heart is involved, true peace cannot be measured by the absence of external conflict. Peace without heart change is as elusive as a mirage.
Rather, for Christians, our goal must be to know Christ in the middle of the conflict. Peace is the fruit of the presence of God’s Spirit. This means you can always know peace. We may never eliminate conflict but we can always know the peace that comes from knowing the God of peace. Instead of eliminating conflict, the Christian overcomes conflict with the powerful force of good. This means I don’t have to control people to find peace. God calls you and me to return good for evil. That way, even if the other person continues to do what is wrong, you can pursue Christ and find his peace.
You are to teach your children that they don’t have to retaliate to know peace. They are to find peace in doing what is right before God. If you are able to help your children see that peace is found in following Christ, rather than in eliminating conflict, you will have taught them a valuable life lesson. This focus keeps the gospel in constant view. Without Christ, true peace is never possible. Every conflict is always an opportunity to talk about our need for Jesus.
Your goal is not so much to end conflict as it is to see hearts given to Christ. Don’t look for peace where it cannot be found. Make Christ the source of your peace. Help your children to know that conflict will always be with them. Help them to see that peace is knowing and following Christ in the middle of conflict.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.