“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
By: Christine Azer
As I was contemplating this verse, I was struck by the specific use of the word “pursue” which implies an active decision rather than a passive action. As Christians, we aim “if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” –Romans 12:18. Contrary to the belief that a person must first be peaceful to show peace to others, pursuing peace helps us attain this sense of calmness. We are responsible for taking the first step in mending a damaged relationship.
The consequences of showing peace to others are not only self-beneficial but critical for the salvation of others, as expressed through the end of the verse. Evangelising can occur unnoticed to the evangeliser; mainly when others observe the lifestyle of a Christian and admire it. They seek the peace that we show to others.
A perfect of example of this active pursuit of peace is seen in Genesis 33, where Jacob attempts to mend his relationship with his brother, Esau. To pursue peace, firstly, we must pray fervently to have peace with someone; this is necessary because Satan makes it difficult for us to be united in Christ as he promotes division. Jacob “wrestled” with the Lord because the lack of peace between him and his brother troubled him. Secondly, pursuing peace requires humility, as seen through Jacob when he “bowed himself to the ground seven times”. Thirdly, he offered physical gifts, “receive my present from my hand”, which was his way of pursuing peace.
We also see this in the character Ibrahim El-Gohary, the Egyptian prime minister during the late 18th century, who acted as the peacemaker between his brother and his brother’s abuser. From his actions, we too are called to act as peacemakers not only to mend our own relationships with others but to promote peace between all people.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”- Matt 5:9
Glory be to God. Amen.