If one definition of peace is freedom from disturbance or a state of tranquility, how can this prized possession be maintained in a disturbing world? And not just the large, far-away world. But also, in the smaller world that supports our lives? How do we maintain peace in our communities, schools, jobs, and families? And if we cannot control what comes towards us, can we truly control our responses and reactions and be a small part of the solution by reversing that attack on tranquility?
Can peace and the maintaining of peace be something that I am committed to? Can peace be my personal challenge? One article proposed: “God wants our inner peace to disturb the world, leaving others wonder how we could possibly enjoy emotional stability and rest in the midst of what we are suffering or enduring.” (The War for Inner Peace/ Marshall Segal/ desiringgod.org/ June 27, 2018) Is it true that instead of having the disturbances create peace-robbing waves, our peace could actively affect those attacks on us? Can peace itself be the tool or strategy?
For some of us, the war for peace is fought internally. For others, that struggle is more outward and outspoken. This may simply be a difference in personality or the way we were raised. I tend to mostly absorb any attacks on my peace. I internalize my frustration or deal first with the way the attack makes me feel. As I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown bolder to address these attacks. A year ago, a colleague used a demeaning tone with me. At first, I dealt with the disturbance on the inside, but I was encouraged to take it a step further and address it, which I did. A year later, that colleague has greatly improved her style, and a strong work relationship is the result.
But for others, the response is more reactive. This is not bad; simply a difference in personality and style of managing attacks. But we are mandated to keep peace. Paul challenges us: “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18) This challenge is worded in such a way as to imply that effort is needed to maintain peace. And the word here is used as an adverb. Peaceably is how we live. So, if peace is the strategy, will peace always be the result? Internally, yes. The war may continue to rage around us, but we have the capacity to create our own inner haven, a place of tranquility and safety where our hearts and minds can retreat, even in the midst of war.