Let me be clear that I had no desire to write on this subject.
Why? Because it’s about peace-making, which is a current issue within my family.
But God led me on a Scriptural journey on peace-making. To start, peace offerings were the norm before Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins.
There’s even directions in the Old Testament on how to do a proper peace offering (Leviticus Chapter 3). But they were no longer needed after Christ died, for we are forgiven through Christ.
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
The one offering, in this Scripture, is Christ. But even though we are forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice, we must still ask God for forgiveness.
It’s not the immediate sanctification given upon receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior that I’m mentioning here. It’s the continuous and progressive sanctification that occurs after we receive Christ and dedicate our lives to walking with Him.
And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices. (Hebrews 10:18)
But God said to me, “You have to continuously ask for forgiveness, just as you would for My peace, love, and wisdom.” Because when we sin, even during our walk with Christ, we should constantly ask for these things in order to continually restore our relationship with Him.
God went on to reveal that peace-making not only requires making peace with Him, but also with those we have offended or have been offended by. As described in this well-known Scripture:
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (Matthew 5:23-24)
Saddening The Holy Spirit
Of course, I knew the Scripture and have read it several times before. But it wasn’t until I felt a deep sadness rising up from the Holy Spirit within me that I fully understood it.
The feeling occurred at my grandfather’s funeral and lingered into the rest of the day. It was at the funeral that a particular family member sought peace with another family member.
It was a visible feast for the eyes. For these two individuals have spent the past eight years not speaking to or being in the presence of one another… until they had to be at this funeral.
So you understand how this very public peace offering saddened the Holy Spirit. For God said, “He (the offender) did not actually seek forgiveness from Me or from her (the offended) on this matter.”
Instead, the offender made peace his way without actually making peace God’s way. And the Holy Spirit doesn’t accept these types of offerings.
Believe it or not, making peace God’s way requires more than forgiveness. It requires settling matters, or in the New American Standard Bible translation, making friends.
Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (Matthew 5:25)
Scripture doesn’t say pretend to or make tolerable your differences. It says to settle or make friends.
Doing this requires a step further by both parties. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that these individuals have to be best buds.
But to achieve friend-status, both would need to do so through love, respect, and humility. Because God doesn’t accept making friends through contempt, guilt, or to appease others that happen to be watching.
He wants peace through genuine love and concern for one another. He even wants us to pray for our enemies and bless them!
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)
Yes, I had to quote this entire Scripture because there is so much to loving our enemies and making peace. It consists of going above and beyond; it consists of not withholding, deceiving, or giving just the minimum.
And more importantly, God desires all this immediately. Because time allows for growing animosity, making it even more difficult to reverse the effects of pride, indignation, and self-righteousness.
Warning On Peace-Making
So as we go into the holiday season, think of those you need to seek genuine peace with, even if it hurts. Because God only provides us with this sobering warning:
Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)
By not following Christ’s teachings, we are not truly reborn in Christ (refer to 1 John 4:20). And sadly, that means we aren’t able to receive Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, the fruit of the Spirit, and the promise of eternal life.
So I pray for those, who want to stick closely to Christ, to take courage and make peace the way God wants them to. And to know that even though it is truly difficult, it is the only way to truly walk with Christ.
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