5 Things That Will Prevent Peace With Others
God expects Christians to live peaceably with others. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” God’s people should be chasing peace and harmony with all people in this world (though not at the expense of compromising the truth of the gospel). You must do everything within your ability to pursue peace. But, there are some things that you can do that will prevent being at peace with others.
1) Temper. Whenever you lose your temper, you will create strife. Unfortunately, there are many people who do not handle their anger in a God-approved way. Many are quick to express their frustrations with others and do not first think about their words or actions. Proverbs 15:18 says, “A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contentions.” So, one path escalates tension and problems with others, and one path works to create calm and peace with others (even in times of difficulty).
2) Bitterness. Bitterness and resentment can easily be fostered in the hearts of men and women toward others. Rather than seeking a peaceful solution and working out disagreements, problems are left to fester. And, before you know it, a big conflict can come from a problem that (if it had been handled properly) could have been solved easily. Hebrews 12:15 (just one verse after the command to pursue peace with all people) says, “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” In order to be at peace, you must eliminate the bitterness that is in your heart – before it springs up and produces the fruits of divisiveness and unwillingness to forgive.
3) Pride. Most people do not like to admit that they are wrong. Yet, there is not a single person in this world who never commits any sin. So, chances are very good that you will need to admit your own failure to someone during your life. However, when people are unwilling to admit their mistakes, they will never ask for forgiveness. Furthermore, people who always think their opinions are right will not work to accomplish peace. Proverbs 28:25 says, “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.” Rather than being proud in your estimation of yourself, you should choose to have a modest estimation of yourself and be willing to acknowledge your faults.
4) Failure to love. God commands us to love everyone – even our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48). But, to love like God commands is not always easy and many people choose to pursue their own desires rather than the best interests of others. However, a failure to love like God commands will always produce strife, conflict, and division, rather than peace. When God commands love, He says that love “suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Are you walking in love?
5) Failure to be like Jesus. Those who are disciples of Jesus Christ are expected to be students and imitators of Jesus. Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Although people would often choose to reject the message that Jesus preached, Jesus’ own conduct did not contribute to hostility and strife. Instead, Jesus was perfect in His conduct toward others – always demonstrating perfect love, service, and compassion. Therefore, whenever we leave the footsteps of Jesus in order to walk in our own selfish ways, we will fail to contribute to peace with others.
Although other things could be added to this list, these are five things that will certainly prevent peace with others. So, as you reflect over this list, you must consider whether you are guilty of any. God wants you to be running toward and doing all that you can to make for peace with all mankind – including those who are your enemies. Are you running in this direction?