Pursue Peace: {Seeking True Peace in Relationships}

I've been studying 1st Peter and these verse come in the middle of a section all about relationships, how we are to love each other and strive for unity and submit to authority. And I came to these verses... "For 'Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.'" 1 Peter 3:10-12

Am I a conflict-avoider or a peace-pursuer? The question flowed from the tip of my pencil into my bright teal-blue journal as I poured over these two verses. The question came suddenly and stopped me just as quickly. How are avoiding conflict and pursuing peace related, I wondered? Why did I put those two things together? Then the next moment I saw it all so clearly.

pursuepeace

Is it my aim to pursue peace, or merely to avoid conflict?

I am a people pleaser. I hate conflict. I wish I never had to disagree with anyone. And my mind says that I can’t experience peace with others and be at odds with them at the same time. So I listen to my mind try live life dodging hard conversations and conflict-prone situations. But avoiding conflict doesn’t bring relational peace.

Peace is 'freedom from worry'.

The only reason I run from conflict is worry. I worry what the other person will think if I disagree with them. I worry I’ll make someone angry. I worry that I will get yelled at or snapped at or even frowned at. I worry that the relationship will be damaged. I worry that the other person won’t find the relationship valuable enough to work for. I worry that I will have to say hard, uncomfortable, honest things. I worry and I worry and I worry. And that is not peace.

Although I may be successful in preventing an outward conflict, I’m creating an inner conflict for myself. I never have the opportunity to truly be at peace with others when I’m simply shying away from the real stuff. And if I keep the conflict from happening, then I remove the other person’s choice to accept the peace I’m offering.

Just like true love can’t be forced, true relational peace can’t be forced either.

Tt’s scary to be real and it’s scary to go to the hard places with people and it’s scary to be honest. Because I can be honest and loving and gentle, and I can seek peace in the hard places, but I can’t guarantee that the other person with accept the peace I’m offering. I can’t guarantee that they will accept me.

So I worry and I avoid conflict, and in the process, I lose all the opportunities I have for true peace. When we are willing to reach out in peace and be honest yet gentle and firm yet gracious, we will often find that others will reach back with peace. True peace is a two way street. And conflict avoiding puts it all on the avoider, and withholds true relational peace from both people in the relationship.

Peace is 'freedom from worry’ and when you build a relationship on honesty, only then can you build real trust and real peace.

Peace takes work. Peace takes honesty. Peace takes bravery. But peace is worth pursuing.

Are you a conflict avoider or a peace pursuer? Is it your aim to pursue peace, or merely to avoid conflict?

Be blessed <3

{This Friday I will be co-hosting the Hello, My Name is ________ link up with Kerry from Glory in the Valley. This link up is an opportunity for us to shed the lies that we often use to define ourselves and rename ourselves according to our identity in Jesus. Join us this Friday right here or on Kerry's blog, and link up your Hello, My Name is ________ post.}