Finally, let’s very briefly talk about extending peace to one another. When we interact with someone, we have three choices—to be a) a peace-breaker, 2) a peace-faker, or 3) a peace-maker. We break peace when we fight or put others down with our (often mean and harsh) words, or gossip about them behind their backs. We fake peace when we just run away and avoid them or deny the problem or play the blame-game. But we can make peace by overlooking other people’s mistakes and inadvertent sins or by talking to them when it is a serious sin issue or by getting help when the talks fail. I hope to talk about these things in greater detail in a Sunday school series. But I wanted to bring them up even briefly to remind ourselves that we have these choices in all of our interactions and challenge ourselves to make the choice for peace-making.
Of course, in order to do these things, we must live and move and have our being in the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, we have been brought into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. This is our reality. But for it to be a practical reality, which affects everything we do, we must be intentional in keeping it at the forefront of our mind and heart. They say there are two different levels of competency when it comes to our vocabulary: there are words we can recognize when we hear them or read them; there are words we can actually use in our conversation and writing. For many of us, our vocabulary of grace may be at the recognition level. We must bring it up to the level of practical and ready usage. For that, we must constantly think about God’s grace and peace in Jesus Christ, constantly seek to experience more of them in our heart and relationships, and actively seek opportunities to talk about them, about their practical applications in our lives. Let us help one another do so proactively and intentionally. That is why God has brought us together in this covenant community in the name of Jesus Christ—until that day when we shall live in perfect shalom with God and our brothers and sisters in the Lord.