42. WHEN YOU ARE FOR PEACE BUT THEY ARE FOR WAR
Hebrews 12:14 which is God’s authoritative Word, states, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Romans 14:9 further states, “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Romans 12:18 tells us though, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
The operative phrase here is: “If it be possible”.
To my mind, the above verses looked at collectively, tell me that the Lord wants and expects us to make every effort to promote and pursue after peace with other human beings but he knows that in some situations, it takes two to tango, so-to-speak. That is, in some situations, there is only so much that we can do to bring about peace. We are limited as to what we can do. For, in those situations, peace is not possible because the person or people that we are trying to be peaceable with are simply not interested.
In such cases, we try and try and try but to no avail because their minds are made up and unchanged. They do not want peace but for the status quo to remain. In such cases, I believe that we are just to ACCEPT THE SITUATION FOR WHAT IT IS, as there isn’t anything that we can do in our own strength to change it.
I remember while growing up, seeing a popular prayer inscribed on plaques and posters which people had erected on the walls in their homes or office spaces. This prayer, which was short, went: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
This is the mindset we need to have when faced with a situation where we long for peace but the people that we have to be around or interact with love war. We can certainly KEEP ON PRAYING ABOUT THE SITUATION but we should no longer get worked up, bothered, sad or alarmed over it anymore. Leave it in God’s hands. Let him know: Lord, I am for peace but they are for war. I therefore give this issue over into your hands for YOU to handle, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
In Psalm 120:5-7, the Psalmist, finding himself in such a situation, lamented, “Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.”
He clearly felt frustrated and upset because although he wanted peace so badly, the people that were around him were not interested in this. All his efforts therefore seemed for nought.
Having experienced this myself, I can personally attest to the fact that this makes you feel angry and frustrated because you are trying so hard but yet to no avail. Those who love confusion, drama, turmoil and division, egg you on and then gleam in satisfaction when you become upset, thinking that they have finally succeeded in making you feel bad, worthless and jealous of whoever they have been trying so hard to make you feel jealous of.
However, the reason why you are upset is not because you don’t know your worth or are jealous. It is because you see clearly the spirit behind their wicked and diabolical behaviour but yet they continue on with importunity and no repentance. You are upset because you’re tired of dealing with this same nonsense, which shows no sign of abating because they refuse to cease from their wickedness. You are upset because the people that you are seeking to have peace with and for which you have longed, maybe for years, to have a genuine loving relationship with are not budging. They may pretend for a while that you have arrived at a peaceful place of understanding and get you all hopeful and excited (even letting down your defences) that finally, things will be different but alas, you realize that this is short-lived and they soon show their true colours again. They soon display how they really feel about you and that they desire to hurt you or take you down a peg or two, by finding ways (sometimes subtly) to be antagonistic towards you, to make you feel bad and to embarrass or insult you.
The more you try for peace, the more they try to do things to pitch you against another, to promote and incite strife, competition, to belittle, insult, attack, accuse and take jabs at you. The more you try to show love, the more they give you coldness, animosity and blatantly return your kindness with rudeness, undermining, criticism, denigration, mockery, unnecessary opposition to whatever your position is on matters and even dismissing everything you do, trying their utmost best to make you believe, that while others are important, valuable, special, respected and matter, that you are nothing but scum and dirt and that you deserve nothing but their contempt. They send the message deliberately and calculatedly through their actions, that they are better than you, more important than you, more favoured than you and that you must stay in your place, the place that they have placed you in their minds, which is at the foot of the table. They therefore have no qualms in treating you like if you were a dog and as if you have no feelings whatsoever.
Yet, having gotten such treatment on many an occasion in the past and even today, I was reminded by God’s Word that, even if this behaviour gets you angry, it is not an excuse to sin in your anger nor for your anger to be perpetuated. Do not hold on to that anger therefore and don’t fly off the handle and think or say anything sinful. I failed miserably today in this regard but I have gone to the Lord in prayer and repented. I ought not to be overcome with evil but I ought to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
I have learned that I am to accept the situation for what it is and while it is good to pursue after peace, sometimes there comes a point when you just need to let it go and leave it in God’s hands, knowing that you tried your best and they still insist on rejecting what you are trying to build, which is peace, love harmony, unity, respect, understanding and equal dignity, not respecter of persons.
Whenever they show that they are not interested in peace despite all that you do and have done, you can take the issue to the Lord in prayer. STOP DOING STUFF THEREFORE IN THE PHYSICAL REALM. When they act up and show their animosity, take it to the Lord in prayer, letting him know what has happened. He is an impartial judge and if peradventure, there is anything that you have miscalculated in your assessment, he knows the truth of the situation. He takes no sides but the side of TRUTH, always. Ask him for his help therefore in your response and ask him to help them with the issue of their heart. For, make no mistake: The heart of the issue is the issue of the heart.
You can’t change the situation but God can. Peradventure, he will be merciful and change the hearts of those involved, so that they can repent. You are to therefore STOP TRYING TO CHANGE THE SITUATION IN YOUR STRENGTH, turn it over to the Lord and focus on doing what you are called to do in obedience to God, even in that war zone.
For example, Matthew 5:44 states, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
No matter how wicked they are or how antagonistic their behaviour against you therefore, you are to LOVE THOSE WHO INSIST ON POSITIONING THEMSELVES AS YOUR ENEMY. You are to bless (not curse) them, do good to them and pray for them. When you pray for them, you are to pray, not that God heaps punishment upon them but for their welfare, for their deliverance from the devil’s clutches and influence, that they will have a change of heart and repent and that God will have mercy on them. This may be difficult as you are hurting and feel angry by their actions but by the grace of almighty God, it is possible. Stephen did it as he was being killed and so did the Lord Jesus.
In Acts 7:60, Stephen, being stoned to death by a group of people for doing God’s will and feeling the pain with every blow, prayed to God before he died, on behalf of those very people, his enemies. The Bible states, “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Although he knew that he was dying therefore and in intense pain, out of love for the people who hated him, he prayed for them, that God would have mercy on them.
Similarly and even more sacrificially, given that Jesus was completely without sin but yet was dying as a substitute for the sins of the whole world, in a love that was so great, it covered a multitude of sins, Jesus prayed for his enemies while they were in the process of killing him, despite the pain that he was feeling. Luke 23:34 states, “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.“
When people are hating on us therefore and warring against us, we ought to do the same. For, as Hebrews 12:2-4 reminds us, we have not yet been called to suffer to the point where we have lost our lives due to the actions of those warring against us. They may gossip against us, badmouth us, insult, accuse and malign us but they have not yet sought to kill us, as the enemies of Jesus did.
To enable us to guard against becoming weary and giving up in our situation, the scripture states:
- “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.“
Be reminded of Psalm 37:1-24, 27-28 as well, which tells you NOT TO FRET. There is a natural inclination for you to fret because the people around you are doing things deliberately and wickedly, to make you fret and to make you feel bad, even after you have been genuinely trying to do good and want peace.
The thing is, they are not going to change, unless God changes them. Until then, as hard as it may be, they will continue to do things deliberately calculated to make you upset, to keep you in your place and to make you feel like nothing. They will continue to be dismissive of all your efforts, to suppress you, pretend they didn’t see any good that you did or tried to do or that it was not important but a complete waste of time and insignificant but know this dear child of God: IT IS NOT INSIGNIFICANT IN GOD’S EYES!
They may dismiss you and all that you do because they have embraced the sin of respecter of persons and you are not so-and-so who they hold in high esteem BUT GOD SEES AND GOD KNOWS! When they take the view, that in order for so-and-so to SHINE, you must be SUPPRESSED, as if it is a competition, God sees and knows.
As I have long said, FAVOURITISM may come from man but note this dear Daughter of God, FAVOUR comes from God. “…PROMOTION cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: HE putteth down one, and setteth up another.” (Psalm 75:6-7)
COMFORT YOURSELF IN THE FACT THEREFORE, THAT GOD SAW IT. He saw all your effort and how they dismissed all of it wickedly and tried to provoke you. He saw all that you did, the sacrifices you made and how they just trampled on it, so that you would feel hurt, unappreciated and insignificant.
He saw your tears which you secretly shed and even your brokenness of heart and spirit. God saw it and he knows.
STOP FEELING NERVY, UPTIGHT AND TENSE around them. I know this is easier said than done but ask God for strength and just RELAX, knowing that God’s got you and that situation. Dry your tears. They may try their best and work overtime to make you feel bad, guilty and worthless but if you are God’s child, you have worth in Jesus Christ, are precious to him and they can never change that, even if they wished they could or consider you to be nothing.
As they continue to do what they love to do therefore and take pleasure in doing it (which is try to hurt you and make you feel like all of your efforts are worthless and of no value), remember that, although they may operate as if they are larger than life and in control and therefore do as they please without any fear of God and how he feels about their behaviour, you must STAY FOCUSED. DON’T ALLOW THEIR SIN TO MAKE YOU SIN.
REALIZE THAT THE ENEMY IS OPERATING THROUGH THEM TO PROVOKE, HARASS AND OPPRESS YOU, FOR A REASON. IF YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD, THERE IS SOMETHING IN YOU, SOME PURPOSE, SOME GREAT EXPLOIT, THAT THE ENEMY IS WORKING TIRELESSLY THROUGH PEOPLE, TO TRY TO SUPPRESS.
DO NOT GIVE IN. KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST, HOLD YOUR PEACE (NATURALLY), KEEP PRAYING TO GOD (SPIRITUALLY) AND SIT STILL.
PLANT YOUR ROOTS DEEP IN THE WORD OF GOD and if they figure that they are more mighty than the God who is upholding you with the right hand of HIS righteousness and more powerful than his Word, then let them try their best to uproot you.
Here is what his Word states:
- “FRET NOT thyself because of evildoers, NEITHER BE THOU ENVIOUS against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
- TRUST in the Lord, and DO GOOD; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. DELIGHT THYSELF also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. COMMIT THY WAY unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
- REST in the Lord, and WAIT PATIENTLY for him: FRET NOT thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. CEASE FROM ANGER, and FORSAKE WRATH: FRET NOT thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
- The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken…
- The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and HE delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with HIS hand….DEPART from evil, and DO GOOD; and dwell for evermore. FOR THE LORD LOVETH JUDGMENT, AND FORSAKETH NOT HIS SAINTS; THEY ARE PRESERVED FOR EVER: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psalm 37:1-28)
God has not changed and the things that the scripture records that he has hated in the past, he STILL hates today. If people are intent on creating trouble, drama and mischief with their words and actions, then the Lord will handle it. They may think that they are doing you something but really, they are doing themselves. They conspire to dig a pit for you but once God is on your side and you focus on doing what pleases him, they themselves will fall into it.
Proverbs 26:27 states authoritatively, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” Haman learned this the hard way when he tried to mess with Mordecai, a man of God. He built a gallows to hang Mordecai on and it was the same gallows that king Ahaseurus ordered that he be hanged on (Esther 7:9-10).
The Word of God states:
- “These six things doth the Lord HATE: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.“
When feeling overwhelmed because you are around people that are not interested in peace but war, especially doing violence with their lips through badmouthing, gossip, insults, accusations and put downs, pray even as David prayed in Psalm 140:1-9 and 11-13. David prayed:
- “Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.
- I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord. O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah. As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them…Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.
- I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.”
When dealing with people that insist on fighting against you, although you want peace, remember that this is what you should do:
- 1 – Accept the situation for what it is. Stop living in denial that maybe you are imagining things or it is not as bad as it really is. It is bad and it is what it is;
- 2 – Stop trying to change the situation in your own strength. You can’t. Accept this;
- 3 – Stop reacting with a natural response. Stop operating in the physical realm. Quarreling or attempting to sit down and speak with such people to get them to see reason, will not work;
- 4 – Deal with the issue spiritually. Pray to God about it, ask him to rule in it, ask him for his strength, deliverance and vindication. Ask him to change whatever may need to be changed in you (as you are not perfect) and pray for those warring against you, in love, asking for their deliverance from the devil’s clutches, their repentance and that God will be merciful to them;
- 5 – Comfort yourself in the fact that God knows what you have been going through and everything they have done, God saw it;
- 6 – Stop feeling nervy, uptight and tense. Relax because you have committed the issue to the one that judges righteously;
- 7 – Stay focused on obeying God. Don’t allow their sin to make you sin;
- 8 – Realize that the enemy is operating through them to get to you, so as to foil your God-given purpose, suppress you and keep you from moving forward;
- 9 – Do not give in and give up. Be not overcome with evil but overcome evil with good;
- 10 – Plant your roots deep in the Word of God. They can’t get to you if you’re dwelling in the secret place of the Most High;
- 11 – Put on and take up the armour of God.
Additionally, the Word of God, which is authoritative on all matters and gives the best advice, states:
- Fret not;
- Don’t be envious;
- Trust in the Lord;
- Do good;
- Delight in the Lord;
- Commit your way unto Him;
- Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
- Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
- Don’t do any evil (in retaliation);
- Love them;
- Bless them;
- Do good to them;
- Pray for them.
(Written on 08th, 9th and 18th May, 2022, added to thereafter)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in the following under the ‘BROKEN Daughters’ Page:
- Note 9 – ‘When Family Disappoints’
- Note 24 – ‘Are Some People Intent On Painting You Black?’
- Note 25 – ‘The Bummer Lamb’
- Note 38 – ‘Is Your Family Dysfunctional?’
- Note 40 – ‘When Life Throws You Lemons’
Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 108 – ‘Favouritism Comes From Man But Favour Comes From God’
- Note 123 – ‘God Calls Me Hephzibah’
- Note 161 – ‘Overcoming Oppression – Spiritual Warfare’