Peace Depends on You. We all create situations causing us worry, stress, and the absence of peace for our lives and for others. Conflict goes back to the early days of our lives. Put two toddlers together. It would not take long before conflict begins between them. Movies becoming box office hits evolve around conflict and worry. Admit it or not, the human nature loves and desires conflict and worry. We feed on it. Some of us would rather worry and live in eternal conflict than live in peace and peace depends on you.
LIVING IN PEACE
By Pastor Delbert Young
Peace Depends on You
Peace Depends On You
Scriptures: Matthew 6:25, Romans 12:17-21, Romans 12:18, Matthew 6:33, 2 Samuel 16:12
We are beginning a new series I am calling LIVING IN PEACE.
We live in a world and society which enjoys a strange dichotomy. We say we desire to LIVE IN PEACE, yet we love conflict and live so much of our lives worrying, arguing with people, anxious about everything, stressed about life, with chaos in the family, etc.
What is there about us that loves these things? I know we say we do not love anxiety, worry, chaos, etc, but we must. Think just a minute. How much of your life, how many hours, days, weeks, months, or years have you given to worry and anxiety? How much of your life have you spent on, if not physical, mental and emotional conflict? You have given a lot of your life to worry, so, you must enjoy it. Even though you know conflict, worry, fretting, anxiety, etc will cause your blood pressure to go up, stress, make you physically, emotionally, and mentally sick, if not cautious, you will spend much of your life doing just this.
We worry about the things in which we are in conflict and the truth is humanity loves conflict and worry and has since the beginning of time. From the days of Cain and Able, we have experienced them. From recorded history, there has been hardly any time when humankind was not at war. Men love to watch conflict through contact sports such as boxing matches. Women enjoy conflict too. Some of my most horrific memories are of women creating conflict and loving what it created. We all create situations causing us worry, stress, and the absence of peace for our lives and for others. Conflict goes back to the early days of our lives. If we put any two toddlers together, it would not take long before conflict began between them. Even the movies becoming box office hits evolve around conflict and worry, i.e. Revenge of the Sith ($380.3); Chronicles of Narnia ($291.7); King Kong ($218.1); Batman Begins ($205.3); Mr. and Mrs. Smith ($186.3); etc. Admit it or not, the human nature loves and desires conflict and worry. We feed on it. It is safe to say some of us would rather worry and live in eternal conflict than LIVE IN PEACE.
The first thing to realize about LIVING IN PEACE is to realize something inside of us – the human nature – desires to worry and be anxious. This is why Jesus said not to do it.
(NIV) Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, DO NOT WORRY about your life…
(KJV) Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, TAKE NO THOUGHT for your life…
Worrying is so dominant in our lives Jesus had to tell us not to do it. Do not allow your mind to take you there. In other words, we make a decision not to worry and lose our peace. Now, Jesus does not say stick your head in the sand and pretend a serious problem is not there. He said do not allow your mind to worry.
Though we love to worry (admit it or not), when we find ourselves experiencing conflict, turmoil and worry, we become “blamers” and “finger pointers.” We do not want the blame for it. The chaos and conflict and the worry in our lives are never our fault, or so we say. The absence of peace in your life is never your fault. It is always the fault of someone or something else – the spouse, children, boss, employee, pastor, church member, or whomever. We ingeniously find someone or something to blame.
Jeff Foxworthy tells a story about going home and finding crayon writing on the wall. He asked his two-year-old daughter who did it. She told him the dog did it. He said, “Now, that bothers you as a parent because we’ve had that dog for ten years and now he starts writing on the wall.” Early on, we learn to blame someone, anyone, or anything causing the lack of peace in our lives. The truth of the matter is peace in your life, or the lack of it, DEPENDS ON YOU!
Romans 12:17-21 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, AS FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON YOU, LIVE AT PEACE WITH EVERYONE. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” DO NOT BE OVERCOME BY EVIL, BUT OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.
Those verses tell us a lot about LIVING IN PEACE, but the apostle said something we will miss if not cautious. It is a main point about LIVING IN PEACE. It is PEACE DEPENDS ON YOU.
It is impossible to LIVE IN PEACE if you refuse to take responsibility for peace. Please get this! YouLIVING IN PEACE is not your spouse’s responsibility. It DEPENDS ON YOU. It is your responsibility. You LIVING IN PEACE with your children is not your children’s responsibility. It DEPENDS ON YOU.It is your responsibility. You LIVING AT PEACE at work with your employees or employer DEPENDS ON YOU. It is your responsibility. Your loss of peace because of a conflict with a person is not the person’s fault because PEACE DEPENDS ON YOU. It is your responsibility. However, we do not want to take responsibility.
Most of you will remember a lawsuit in 1992 involving a woman who went through a drive-through at McDonalds in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She ordered a 49-cent cup of coffee, spilled it in her own lap, and sued McDonalds. She said it was not her fault. She said it was McDonalds fault. We shake our heads at things like this, but when we spill our homes, children, finances, lives, etc in our own laps, we want to sue McDonalds.
Your marriage is a mess in your lap. There is no peace at home. Do you accept responsibility, or is it your spouse’s fault? Your children are a mess in your lap. They rob your peace. It must be the television’s fault or the schools fault. Your finances are a mess in your lap. You have anxiety about paying your bills. It’s the lender’s fault. When do we take responsibility for our spills, correct the situation, and experience a life LIVING IN PEACE?
The next step in LIVING IN PEACE is accepting responsibility for peace. Why is it important you accept responsibility? It is because you will never trust Jesus to work as long as you are blaming someone else. How can you get honest with God about life when you refuse to get honest with yourself?
Romans 12:18 IF IT IS POSSIBLE, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
There may be some areas about which you can do nothing, but have you done AS FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON YOU? Have you done everything the scriptures teach? For example, have you done good for evil?
I was remembering one of the last times I totally lost my peace. It was several years ago. I was fishing alone one day in my boat. I had already experienced a few minor run-ins with this particular fishing guide. I tried to be nice. I understood he made his living by putting people on and catching fish, so I gave him his space. This particular day, I was fishing generators for Stripped Bass. I knew the guide was there, but was paying him no attention. Suddenly, I heard an outboard motor very close. My boat began to rock. I looked around. He drove his boat by my boat, missing my boat by inches. This created a large wake of water spilling into my boat. It was no accident. He intentionally attempted to swamp my boat. Instinctively, I yelled at the guy who had three other guys in the boat with him. I did not yell profanities. I yelled something like, “HEYYYYY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Of course, he yelled back except he did yell profanities and lots of them. I asked, “Are you crazy?! Who do you think you are?” He continued with his profanities declaring how he would… well whip a part of my anatomy. Of course, the macho thing came out of me and I said, “Bring it on big boy! Here I am.” This went on for several minutes. He told me he would get me at the boat ramp. I said, “Why wait for the ramp? We can pull over to the bank right now.” We had drifted back from the generators by now. He told me he would get me later and to stay away from him when he was fishing. He shoved his throttle into forward and took his fishing party back fishing. I was yelling how I would fish where I wanted to fish and he better stay away from me. I kept fishing and he kept fishing with no further incidents that day. His trip was over about 12 noon or 1 p.m. and he left with us glaring at each other. This event ate at me. I remember lying down at night and reliving the experience – the yelling, the adrenaline, the anger. I knew I would see the guy again, soon, and it would happen all over again. A part of me looked forward to it. A part of me hated I felt this way. I knew better. I was supposed to be “bigger” than this. I was supposed to let him do it again – turn the cheek. Yet, I was close to being in full-blown conflict. I was in this dichotomy thing. I loved it and hated it at the same time. For the next few days, I relived the event over and over. Ever time, I felt the same anger. A few days later, I was going fishing again. I checked to see what dams were running generators and only one was running. I knew “he” would be there. I was there bright and early. He was nowhere to be seen. I caught my live bait then caught a few nice fish. I looked up and here he came with two different men in the boat with him. I was ready. As he pulled into the area to catch his bait, we looked at each other. I kept fishing. He tried to catch bait, but had no luck. I watched him and was gleeful because he could not catch bait and I had a bunch. It was about then I heard this voice inside say, “Give him your bait.” I said, “I rebuke you devil in the name of Jesus.” It had to be the devil, right? I kept fishing, thinking, “I’m not giving him my bait!” The voice I recognize to be the Spirit of the Lord again said, “Give him your bait.” I said, “Lord????” He said, “Do you want peace or do you want what you have felt these last days and will continue to feel every time you see him? Where will the conflict go next time? Do you really want this? Is this who you are?” I thought, “Shoot! Lord, when I pull up to him, he is going to go off on me and if he does, I am going to punch him.” I cranked my boat, pushed it into forward, and eased up to him. He stood on the front of his boat glaring at me. I am sure he thought I was going to start something. I called his name and said, “Let me give you some bait.” I wish I had a picture of his face. I know he did not want to take bait from me, but he had two men who had paid him a lot of money to catch fish and he couldn’t even catch bait. He had the most bewildered look on his face. It took him a few seconds to respond to me. Finally, he nodded and said, “Yes… Thank you.” I got a bucket, filled it with water, dipped my bait into the bucket, and gave him my bait.” Even the guys in the boat were thanking me. He thanked me again. I said, “No problem. Catch a bunch.” Then I pulled away. When I did, it was as if a cool, pure breeze swept over my soul. I remember pulling away with this huge smile on my face coming from deep within. The scripture came to me I read earlier. “In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head… Overcome evil with good.” I have seen the man a hundred times since then. I give him his space, but he gives me mine too. He now smiles at me and waves. I smile and wave back. However, the amazing thing was how clean I felt inside. I captured peace. Peace was my responsibility AS FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON ME.
The Bible tells a story about King David during a horrible time in his life. His own son, Absalom, attempted to overthrow David and take his kingdom. Forced to leave Jerusalem until Absalom was dealt with, David walked along the side of a valley with a ridge on the other side. A man named Shimei came out on the ridge cursing David and throwing rocks at him (2Sam 16:5-6). Shimei followed David for a long time yelling profanities and throwing rocks. One of David’s men, Abishai, asked David if he could go across and cut off Shimei’s head. David said something profound. David said his own son was trying to overthrow the kingdom, of what importance is this person? Isn’t this the way so many of the things taking our peace really are? We have so many other things to accomplish in life, yet we allow one person, or one situation, to consume our minds and take our peace. David did exactly what Jesus said is the antidote to worry.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS will be given to you as well.
If you will but concentrate your efforts on what God put you here to do, he will take care of all the other “THINGS.” After David said what he said, he said this.
2 Samuel 16:12 And perhaps the LORD will see that I AM BEING WRONGED and WILL BLESS ME BECA– USE OF THESE CURSES.
In other words, David said if he handled this Shimei “thing” correctly, the Lord would bless David. Only a few days later, the Lord did deal with the Absalom “thing” and restored the kingdom to David. Shimei met David as David reentered Jerusalem, fell prostrate before him, and begged forgiveness. David forgave him and promised “he” would not kill him. David prospered and because David had a proper attitude, God dealt with all David’s enemies.
The truth is, you will always have something happening taking your peace if you allow it. It’s up to you if you allow it. PEACE DEPENDS ON YOU. Something inside of you will lust to worry. Jesus said,TAKE NO THOUGHT OF IT. Don’t give your mind to it. PEACE DEPENDS ON YOU. There will always be some person throwing rocks or words at you. There will always be some situation threatening your kingdom. If you will continue to focus on what God put you here to do, God will take care of thethings. God will take care of your enemies if you will allow him to work. The scriptures instruct you IF IT IS POSSIBLE, AS FAR AS IT DEPENDS ON YOU, LIVE AT PEACE WITH EVERYONE. If you will handle it correctly, God will bless you.
Other Related Sermons:
Eric Snyder, Peace starts with me