I told you last week that this one would require a shopping cart. That's because there's so many things we can't carry them all in our hands. This load requires a buggy. (That's what we call them around here, Southern thing I'm sure.)
Let's check out the things we need to add to our cart in order to have peace with others and begin to think about peace with ourselves. Our grocery list can be found in I Peter 3:8-12.
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
--not repaying evil for evil or insult for insult
--being a blessing
--watching our words
God gives us in these verses a grocery list of good behaviors that lead to peace with others and cause us to be blessings. Why should we give a blessing? Why should we be a blessing? Because, we are to inherit a blessing.
If the very God of the universe can bless us despite our many failures and flaws, we should be able to do the same to our fellow man. Remember the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. The consequences of choosing wrongly are very costly indeed.
Seeking peace isn't all give. It brings life, love and good days. It is to our benefit to pursue peace. However, peace with others is hard to obtain if we have no peace with ourselves.
Our internal battles always spill out eventually into our relationships with others. I think peace with self will be the hardest one of all to deal with because it is such a constant battle. There is no hiding from ourselves. But, peace with self is a worthy pursuit and a critical one if we are to lead fruitful lives.
We'll talk about that one next week.