A Conversation About Peace
Contention. Disagreement. Discord. Disharmony. Distress. Upset. Agitation. Hatred. Hostility. Frustration. Worry. Anxiety. Fighting. War. Wouldn’t you want to be done with all of those, if you could? And in the place of all that: peace. It seems impossible. The world we live in is filled with strife. Marriage, friendship, your neighbourhood, the workplace, online, government, the media, and even the line at Walmart are seedbeds for anger, upset, and conflict. Anywhere that one human comes into contact with another human, whether in person or online, the potential for disagreement and dissension is strong. The solution is peace. The relentless pursuit of peace. And I cannot start with five strategies to be at peace with your neighbour. It has to go deeper than self-help principles.
In John 21, Peter is having a conversation with Jesus beside the Sea of Galilee. Peter had just been fishing, at Jesus’ insistence, and there was a mind-boggling, miraculous catch. As Peter and Jesus sat at the fire, after eating their breakfast, Peter wasn’t feeling great about himself, wasn’t able to enjoy being with Jesus, wasn’t able to celebrate the incredible catch of fish. Inside, he was conflicted, out-of-sorts, burdened. Jesus knew that, of course, and in the verses that follow, graciously helped Peter to process the matter of his failure to stand with Jesus before the crucifixion, denying he even knew him. Peter had no peace, and Jesus lovingly relieved him of the weight of that and brought peace to Peter’s heart and mind.
And in that conversation, we see the key to having peace ourselves. It is not that we rush to enact strategies to be at peace with others, but that we first reconcile ourselves to God and, as a result, to ourselves. The principle is this: when we are at peace with God and at peace with ourselves, matters relating to those around us won’t devastate us in the same way. We can be at peace no matter the circumstances and situations we face.
As we look at John 21:15-23, we’ll see that we will be at peace when there are no unconfessed sin issues in our lives, no fighting God on his plan for us, and no comparing of ourselves to others.
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Conversations with Jesus
A Conversation About Peace
Pastor Todd Dugard
John 21:15–23 (Peter)
May 31, 2020
I feel sorry for the Christian who doesn’t have something in the circumstances of his life that he wishes were not there.—Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I’ll be at peace when there is…
…no unconfessed sin issue (v. 15–17)
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.—1 Corinthians 11:28
Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone.—Luke 11:4
…no fighting God on his plan (v. 18–19)
…no comparing myself to others (v. 20–23)
Jerome said that he was crucified his head being down and his feet upward, as he himself had requested, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.—Foxe's Book of Martyrs
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.—1 Peter 4:12–14
Comparing myself to others:
(1) Compromises my view of God
(2) Complicates my relationships with people
(3) Clouds my thinking
(4) Confuses my purpose
We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.—2 Corinthians 4:16–18
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:7