Peace to Those with Whom He’s Pleased

14 Dec

This was originally written for my church’s blog.

As I’ve been reading along in Desiring God’s Advent Book, I came to the December 6 devotional. While I find the entire thing to be an excellent resource to go through as a family that consistently points us back to Christ and the true reason that is worth slowing down our lives and celebrating each December, this particular day stuck with me as I was explaining our hope and blessing to my children.

I had heard for years that suicides around Christmas time spiked. It made sense and in light of reading this devotional, it made even more sense. As Snopes will tell you, that is not quite true. However, the biggest 15-day span of suicides in the year are the two weeks immediately following Christmas. There are so many facts about suicide that can make any generalizations about it difficult to either state or affirm, but this much is certain, “Suicide is a decision made by people who have no hope.”

In God’s perfect timing, I read this wonderful piece by John Piper just days before I heard about a few people who actually made this decision of suicide, including someone I knew personally and so did many others who might decide to read this. I feel like this act often exacerbates a problem that we have as humans. We tend to characterize people into one general truth, much like Disney movies. If you think of a villain in Disney movie, you are normally hard-pressed to find one positive characteristic.

This is not how it tends to work in the “real world”! People are nuanced. In just the last ten days, two people have died that have caused a great divide amongst people writing on my Facebook wall. The problem with remembering anyone is that despite the fact that they are created in the image of God, they are born with a sinful nature. It can both be true that he did terrible things and that he helped accomplish great ones. Upon his passing, the part you choose to remember is up to you. I just dubbed this Nuanced Lives.

We all have nuanced lives, and this is why making a quick, snap, black and white judgment call on anyone is difficult. Fortunately, when God judges me, it won’t be the terrible things for which I am judged. It won’t even be on the basis of my accomplishing great things on my own. My only hope for getting a positive judgment in the afterlife is the same as my only hope for having peace while on this earth. hat is something to celebrate and one that most we all hope those we were close to are celebrating right now.

One of the great things that accepting the nuanced life in myself and others is that it will naturally lead to peacemaking. When we realize that we are flawed and others can participate in that same grace that allows us to live redemptive lives, despite our flaws, then we are able to truly grasp what it means to make peace with people. It allows us to build a culture of peace and realize what it means to have peace on this earth, as is suggested in the Luke 2 passage.

I am thankful that I am able to know Peace at this time of year, and really, throughout the entire year. As the devotional says, “The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be made known to God….When we do trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men with whom he is pleased—men who would believe.

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