Monday, June 05, 2006

What is Peace?

I’m having an interesting discussion over on Reddit with someone who objects to my previous post on the grounds that the only reason I could have experienced a peaceful moment is because I am not living in abject poverty.

People make that mistake a lot. We often think that peacefulness comes from an accumulation of wealth and things and if we could just get that raise or be able to buy those new things then our problems would be over.

If that were the case then there would be a whole lot fewer celebrity suicides. We’d also find that psychiatrists and counselors would be out of work. Wealthy people would not need their services and poor people who would need them wouldn’t be able to afford them.

The truth is that personal peace is not at all related to the amount of wealth a person has. Wealthy people can be peaceful or tormented. People living in abject poverty can also be peaceful or tormented.

I did an 8 part series on Peacemakers a couple months back. Part 6 looked at the source of spiritual peace.

Here’s what it boils down to:

Peace comes from a closeness to God. It has nothing to do with how much stuff we have or don’t have.

Am I always close to God? Nope. I often go wandering off on my own because I can be stubborn, willful, and feel I need to be in control. That’s why moments like last night are so precious and get my attention.

But here’s the best part. In spite of how screwed up I am, God still makes the effort to get close to me just like He makes the effort with you. God took concrete steps to make a close relationship with us possible. He cared so much about you and I that He traded His most precious possession for us.

He willingly gave up the life of the one closest to Him, His own son Jesus, so that we could experience that peace.

There is nothing I can do to either add to or subtract from that. No matter how much wealth I accumulate or even if I gave it all away and became dirt poor I would still not find peace unless I got close to God. Because it’s not about me, it’s about Him.

Peace!

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2 comments:

Tom Vander Well said...

I'm in complete agreement, Chris. My friend, Victorino, in Davao Philippines had barely enough money to provide enough food for his family and was one of the most peaceful men I ever met. My friend, Chuck, by contrast has more money than most of us will ever experience and has an amazing sense of peace and contentment. The commonality between these two is not money - it's their relationship with Jesus and the contentment that comes with it - no matter your circumstance. Keep posting Truth.

Chris Cree said...

Thanks for sharing Tom. Real world examples always help explain things.