Peace is not the absence of conflict

Posted on · Posted in Sanctification

We live in a world looking for peace. Whether it is in the play room or at the negotiating table peace is often defined as the absence of conflict. So, 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 (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Thus, the goal for achieving peace cannot be the absence of conflict. Rather, for Christians, our goal must be to know Christ in the middle of the conflict. The Bible teaches that we are to return good for evil. Instead of eliminating conflict, the Christian overcomes conflict with the powerful force of good. This means I don’t have to control the other person to find peace. I must choose to honor God and respond to evil / conflict in obedience to God. That way, even if the other person continues to do what is wrong you can pursue Christ and find his peace regardless of what that person may or may not do.

You can 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. You, of course, must be active as a parent to make sure children to not take advantage of each other. But, in helping children see that peace is found in following Christ, rather than eliminating conflict, you will have taught them a valuable life lesson. This focus also keeps the gospel in constant view. Without Christ, true peace is never possible. Every conflict is always an opportunity to talk about our need of Jesus. Your goal is not so much to end conflict as it is to see hearts given to Christ.

As for the diplomats, they, too, would be well served to know that human hearts are wicked and deceptive. Peace without heart change is as elusive as a mirage. But, we will leave that topic for another post!

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 hearts…

Shepherding a Child's Heart DVD 2014

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.