“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” John 14:27
Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). Yet He also said to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.” Some consider these statements contradictory.
We have to bear in mind: the peace of Christ – the peace we have with God through His reconciling death – is one thing; the peace of the world is another.
At the same time, as people who live both in Christ’s kingdom and in the world, we often find ourselves in strange situations – in situations in which the greater loyalty to Christ supersedes personal relationships and friendships.
In our secular lives as well there may be conflicts. In the 1840s two young men were cadets at West Point Military Academy: Ulysses S. Grant and Simon B. Buckner. They were friends. In 1854, when Grant found himself without funds in New York City, Buckner made him a loan. Later the Civil War broke out, dividing not only states but also family members and friends. In the battle of Fort Donelson, Grant and Buckner were officers on opposite sides. Officially they were enemies, for their greater loyalty lay with their respective governments. When Buckner surrendered, Grant offered him financial assistance. In such situations we, too, may find ourselves.
What it boils down to is this: Christians and non-Christians must live together and share this one world. We deal with one another. We have many likes and dislikes in common. We are good neighbors. We work for the good of the community and country. However, in the final analysis – when it gets down to a spiritual crisis – our higher loyalty and love go to Jesus Christ. Not only our eternal well-being but also our peace of conscience lies with Him.
PRAYER: Lord God, give me love for all people, but fill me with the highest love for Jesus Christ, my Reconciler. Amen.
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