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Live in peace with one another

Could you use a little peace in your life these days?  It seems like people are at war over anything and everything these days.  I think there is a hunger for peace in our lives!  In fact, the Bible compels us to Live in peace with each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:13.  So how can we experience peace with one another?

When this was written to the church in Thessalonica, apparently, there was some conflict.  When you read the context in 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13, you will discover that some people in that church must not have appreciated their pastors very much.  So Paul implores them to recognize and appreciate their pastors for their exhausting work, shepherding, and teaching God’s Word.  I know what you may be thinking… how can pastor’s work be “exhausting” when they only work one day a week?!

October is Pastor Appreciation Month and I can tell you that I couldn’t feel more appreciated than I do at Watermark Church!  This church has been remarkably kind and appreciative toward me as pastor.  I am truly blessed to serve alongside all who call Watermark home.  I sincerely appreciate YOU for appreciating me as pastor.    

When Paul wrote this passage, he knew that for a church family to “live in peace with each other”, there had to be a genuine appreciation for their pastor.  This same truth applies to all of our vital relationships… with our spouse, our parents, our children, our co-workers, our boss, our friends, and our fellow believers.

When we recognize and appreciate one another, we will live in peace with one another.  The inverse is also true; when we don’t recognize people’s hard work, and appreciate them for it, then we we may experience conflict in that relationship.  The truth is, relational conflict can stem from a lack of appreciation for one another.  

Think about your marriage… if you are experiencing conflict or you always seem to be at each other’s throat, have you paused to try to figure out why?  Chances are good that there is some lack of recognition and appreciation going on.  But the great news is, you can take care of that with a healthy, God-honoring conversation.  Years ago, I heard a fellow pastor Rick Warren say something like this: “Where there is is a lack of communication, there will be conflict.” Healthy communication is imperative to prevent and resolve conflict.

Conflict can be resolved with healthy communication and loving appreciation for one another.   Acknowledge one another’s hard work and show appreciation!   Who in your life deserves your recognition and appreciation?  When you really think about it, there are more than you can count!  

Who will you recognize and appreciate for their hard work, for serving and caring for you?   Consider the teacher who patiently instructs your child; the waiter who serves you at your favorite restaurant; the driver who delivers food to your door; the coach who  volunteers to serve your child; the husband/dad who tries his best to love you and works so hard to care for his family; the wife/mom who balances caring for you and everyone else who depend on her every day.

I think we are far more apt to complain about others than to compliment and appreciate them.  Sometimes we tend to focus too much on what people aren’t doing than what they are doing.   11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11.    When we do, we will begin to eliminate conflict and strife in our life and experience far more peace!  

What if someone has wronged you in some way and you are angry about that?   That is an opportunity for a healthy conversation… again, communication is key!  If you believe someone has wronged you, then talk with them about it in a healthy, redemptive way!  The problem is that we don’t always communicate in a healthy way.  We tend to get angry and then we let that anger cause us to sin.  26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.  Ephesians 4:26.

God’s Peace Plan for Conflict Resolution 

Show others the same graciousness and compassion that God has shown you by obediently forgiving one another.  32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32  (Col. 3:13)

Forgiveness is not about feelings, it is about obedience.  The truth is that you may not always “feel” like forgiving someone.  In fact, a lot of times you won’t.  But Christ-followers are commanded to forgive.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for someone’s poor choices or that clear boundaries will need to be established because of their sinful behavior toward you.  But, you and I are called to forgive one another as a matter of obedience to God and to reflect the same graciousness He has shown us. 

When someone has sinned against you, go tell them and seek peace15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  Matthew 18:15

When you have sinned against someone, don’t just apologize, seek forgiveness16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16

Seeking forgiveness heals a broken relationship.  It restores peace!  In fact, sin causes conflict in our relationship with God, so we should always respond this way to Him.  But to be clear, forgiveness involves two important elements… confession and repentance.  

Repentance means to do a 180 and head in the other direction.  Asking for forgiveness means that you acknowledge your failure and your willingness to go in the right direction moving forward.  So, when you have failed someone, don’t just say “I apologize or I’m sorry”… Ask for their forgiveness.   Believers are always willing to offer it.   Do you know why?  Because we know that is how our gracious God responds to our sin and failure.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9


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