Seeking Peace in a Peace-Hating WorldDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
I am tired of living among people who hate peace.
Psalm 120 begins on a positive note: “I took my troubles to the LORD; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer” (120:1). But then it takes a negative turn, as the unnamed psalmist cries out to be rescued from liars (120:2). Moreover, because he lives in the midst of those who do not serve the Lord (120:5), the writer laments: “I am tired of living among people who hate peace” (120:6).
Perhaps you can relate to this prayerful complaint. Maybe your family is rife with conflict. Or it could be that your workplace is permeated by spiteful office politics. But even if your immediate relationships are mostly peaceful, we all live in a world that is filled with hatred. The political rhetoric in our own country often becomes painfully personal and revolting. Conflict is abundant between religious groups, and sometimes even within churches and denominations. Every day, the news is filled with stories of people who not only feel hatred, but also live their hatred in acts of violence and terror. How easy it is to echo the lament of the psalmist: “I am tired of living among people who hate peace.”
Jesus Christ offers a different way of being, a way that eschews hatred in favor of love. He calls us to love, not just our friends, but even our enemies. His death brings peace, not only within our souls and close relationships, but also among peoples and nations (see Ephesians 2:11-22, for example). Through Christ, God is mending divisions between people and establishing his realm of peace on earth.
I rejoice in this good news. But, as I pray, “I am tired of living among people who hate peace,” I have an uneasy feeling within me. If I’m going to be truly honest, I must admit that I am not always as peace loving as I would like to think I am. There are times I speak or act in ways that tear down rather than build up. So, perhaps my prayer ought to be, “Lord, I am tired of living among people who hate peace, including me. Help!”
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you ever find yourself acting in ways that contribute to conflict? In which situations do you find it difficult to be a peace maker?
PRAYER: God of peace, as I look around at the world today, my heart echoes the psalmist: “I am tired of living among people who hate peace.” I’m tired of news stories showing people blowing up other people. I’m tired of the powerful taking advantage of the powerless. I’m tired of political rhetoric that is mean-spirited and truth-deprived.
Yet, Lord, sometimes I’m tired of myself, of my pettiness, of my unkind words, of my tendency to think poorly of people who aren’t like me, of my judgmentalism. Frankly, I’m tired of how often I can hate peace. Forgive me, Lord. Transform my heart to be like yours. Give me a yearning for true peace and a new commitment to be a peacemaker wherever I have influence. Help me to love and seek peace in my family, in my community, at work, at church, in my praying and my exercise of citizenship. Make me a channel of your peace, O Lord. Amen.