The Fear of Finding Peace

Peace is wonderful! The world wants it. Nations want it. Societies want it. Congregations want it. Families want it. Individuals want it. Only those enslaved to anger do not want it. (The truth: even anger's weariness produces the denied yearning for peace!)

Ask a troubled world, nations at war, or societies struggling with hate, "Do you want peace?" Ask troubled families or torn individuals, "Do you want peace?" Ask, and all give the same answer: "YES!!!"

If peace is so wonderful, why does it not exist? If everyone wants it, why do we not have it? We do not have it! Finding a person or a family genuinely at peace is rare. We never expect to find a congregation, a society, a nation, or the world at peace.

Why? We fear peace! We do not trust people. "They could trust me, but I could never trust them." We fear because we distrust. We have little confidence in faith. "They could believe in me, but I could never believe in them." We fear because we disbelieve.

We consider evil's power to be greater than good's power. "I would embrace good, but they would pursue evil." We fear because we consider good inferior to evil. We refuse to replace injustice with compassion. "I would bury my anger, hate, and contempt, but they would not." We fear because we consider justice strong and compassion weak.

We do not want to change. "I would have to address my anger, hate, and contempt." We fear our role in the problem. We cherish the convenience of "life as it is." "I cannot change! I am who I am!" We fear any alteration of self.

Jesus' coming made it possible for people "with whom God is pleased" to have peace (Luke 2:14). He gives peace by giving "soul rest" to those who bring him their burdens (Matthew 11:28-30). He gives rest by reconciling us to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

The key to peace in "me" is accepting God's reconciliation. The key to peace in families is peace in the persons. The key to congregational peace is peace in families. The key to peace in society is peace in people ruled by God. The key to peace in the nation is peace in society. The key to peace in the world is internal peace in the nations.

"You mean that world peace begins with me?" In reality, yes. But too many "me's" fear peace. They will not face their burdens. They will not learn how to change self. They will not trust God. They will not commit to good's power. So, troubled families, congregations, societies, and nations continue.

It is simple: "I cannot produce peace if I am not at peace." It is terrifying: "I am not at peace because I fear." Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Mature love of God creates peace because it destroys fear.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 28 May 2000

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