WORKING HARD TO MAINTAIN PEACE
On the world stage, some nations are strong allies and some are outright enemies. In between are nations that have to work very hard to remain civil with one another. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently traveled to North Korea to encourage their often-stubborn ally to work to decrease nuclear tensions with the United States and to improve conditions for its own people. South Korea weighed in, saying that China’s efforts helped bring stability to the Korean peninsula. All parties have to work diligently and show great restraint to prevent unthinkable outcomes.
WORKING HARD TO MAKE PEACE
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called us to work just as hard and show just as much restraint regarding our personal conflicts. There are few things more difficult than surrendering the urge to lash out when we’ve been wronged or to make sure someone doesn’t “get away with” an offense against us. We’d much rather strike back, and sometimes we do. But Jesus told us to integrate our thoughts and prayers with our actions. If we wish to have peace with God, we have to do the hard work of making peace with the people around us, especially those whom we have offended. We don’t know how long it will be before we all stand before the Judge.
- What conflicts on the world stage concern you the most right now? How might the parties move toward defusing the conflict?
- What family members, co-workers, or acquaintances have you had to work very hard to maintain even a semblance of a relationship with? Why is it sometimes so difficult?
- When have you swallowed your pride or surrendered your desire to get even and instead pursued peace? When has someone made the first move to seek reconciliation with you?