Those who counsel peace have joy. – Proverbs 12:20
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9
Several pastor friends of mine have, “Peace” as their closing in letters and emails. Sometimes I wish I had defaulted to that, for it is a word rich in meaning and substance. From the Old Testament Shalom to the New Testament eirḗnē the richness of the concept stretches from wholeness, fullness, health, to being tied together as a whole. It has to do with much more than an absence of conflict, or a cessation of tumult – though those are delightful facets of the term. It is a matter of the heart that can transcend turmoil, withstand worry, and prevail in the face of problems we face daily.
It is a breath of fresh air when someone comes into our lives who brings us peace, wholeness, fullness of being, and health. Contrast that with a cranky boss, a troublesome neighbor, a grumpy husband, or a sullen teenage daughter. These peace-robbers take the wind out of our sails and suck the joy out of life! What a blessing it is when we live in peace! How great life is when we are able to keep our equilibrium when the world is spinning all around us.
That being the case, consider what an honor it is to be a person of peace for someone else. Who, more than a grumpy boss or a troublesome coworker needs someone who brings peace into his or her life? What if you could be that person of peace in the life of a person with a troubled heart and tumultuous life? What if you could show yourself to be a child of God in the crowd of troublemakers all around you?
When I was in a Clinical Pastoral Education program, I served as a hospital chaplain. On one occasion the family of a three year old girl had to cope with her impending death, and wished to have her baptized before she died. As I hurriedly arranged for that, my CPE supervisor asked, “Do you think they need more turmoil and anxiety in their lives right now, or more peace?” I’ve tried never to forget that question, the obvious answer to which is that they needed more peace, and I could mediate peace through my demeanor as well as my words and ministry of baptism.
If we are to do this at least two things need to happen. First we need to embrace God’s gift of peace through Jesus Christ. In the moment. Breathe. Relax. Power down. Be still and know that God is. God is good. God is faithful. God is present. God has shown all that in the life, suffering, death, resurrection, and promised second-coming of Jesus. Embrace that gift…by faith. It’s yours. Then, consider how your grumpy co-worker needs peace more than you think of how he undercuts your happiness. Think of him as one to whom God wishes to bring peace – even as he has brought peace to you. Consider how God might well use your calm demeanor in the midst of the maelstrom of trouble that is swirling in her life. Extend the blessing of God’s peace. Invite him to relax. Offer to pray for her. Assure the troubled of the grace and mercy of God. Embrace that yourself, then share the peace you have received. And remember, “Those who counsel peace have joy.” What a blessing!