January 9th 2009

Our Part in the Peace Process

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable”

James 3:17 NKJ

The news of the continuing conflict in the Middle East is disheartening.

If only both sides could find some common ground. Interestingly, Jews and Arabs alike claim a common ancestor. His name was Abram, which was later changed to Abraham.  About four thousand years ago Abram lived in a specific area of the Middle East, which was much more fertile than it is now. He and his nephew, Lot, shared the land together but the time came when they each had so many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle that “they could not dwell together” (Genesis 13:6). The potential existed for conflict. What did Abram do? He said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me” (v8) and together they came to an arrangement.

I wonder whether both Jew and Arab could learn a lesson from their forefather Abram, and determine that there should be no strife between them. Of course, it is unlikely. A gesture of reconciliation does not solve all the geopolitical, cultural, religious, economic and historical problems that have led to the current hostilities. It seems there is no way to disentangle those issues, no balm in Gilead.

If, however, Abraham were alive today what he would say to these warring cousins? Another of his descendants, a man called Paul, wrote to an assembly of Jews and Romans who had to live next to each other, and told them, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). His view was that community peace begins with one on one personal relationship. Too simple? At least it’s a start, isn’t it?

We all live in mini-war zones, be it within our family, at work, among our circle of friends, at church, in the street where you live. Much depends on our letting “the peace of God rule” in our hearts (Colossians 3:15).

Please, let’s live peaceably with one another. Each of us has a part in the peace process.

Prayer

Lord, I know that within me there is often unreasonable animosity and resentment towards others for whatever reason.  I pray that the Holy Spirit would work with my heart to change my inner self that I may let your peace rule in my heart. Grant me the wisdom that helps me live in peace with other people that they may know that you are God and that those who follow Jesus seek peace and reconciliation. In Jesus’ name.

Amen.

Study by James Henderson

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