Those who promote peace

Here’s another jewel out of Proverbs, this time chapter 12. Yesterday, I discovered that the righteous’ success brings joy to even secular communities. Today, we learn that those who promote and counsel peace have joy, too.

Now, I understand that this doesn’t sound particularly profound. Of course, those who are at peace will have joy, right? I mean, they won’t be at war, they won’t be fighting with anyone, they won’t have cause for anything but joy. But bear with me for just a second.

When was the last time that you espoused peace?

No, not the kind of peace that comes from simply not engaging. Not the kind of peace that comes from financial security. And not the kind of peace that comes from burying your head in the sand.

That peace is illusory because it comes from ignorance.

Instead, Solomon called on people to support, endorse, exhort, and pursue real, true peace. The kind of peace that comes from standing up to the bad guy. The kind of peace that comes from trusting God to provide. The kind of peace that comes from knowing that, as good or bad as things may be right now, God is still on His throne.

The dictionary defines it as an inner quiet and tranquility, and the Bible tells us that it comes solely from a solid relationship with the Jesus. It’s the kind of peace that endures imprisonment, persecution, execution, and more. It’s the kind of peace that is unfazed by stress at work or home. It’s the kind of peace that comes simply from resting in the presence of the Lord.

And Solomon tells us that if we will counsel or promote that kind of peace, we will have joy.

What does it mean to counsel? Turning to the dictionary again, it means to give advice. And what does it mean to promote? Further the progress of something. Why are these definitions important? Because various translations render the verb here – i.e., what we’re supposed to be doing with peace – as both of these. In other words, we’re supposed to be explaining to people the source and means of real, godly peace. We’re supposed to be encouraging them to pursue it for themselves. And when the chips are down, we’re supposed to do whatever it takes to remove the barriers and make it possible for them to experience it, too.

What barriers are standing in your way of peace? What barriers are standing in the way of your family and friends having peace? What will it take for you to truly promote peace?

Sometimes, it’s an painful but honest word. Sometimes, it’s a good ol’ argument. Sometimes, I dare say, it may even be outright war. Other times, though, it may be a held tongue. A resolve to forgive. A decision to hold your fire.

Whatever it is, if you are truly pursuing real, godly peace, regardless of how crazy, dangerous, or you-name-it it may seem, God will give you joy in the midst of it. Why? Because that’s what He promises in Proverbs 12:20: “Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy” (HCSB).

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