In previous discussions, we’ve seen that forgiveness is all about creating peace. When we look at the teachings of Yeshua, he relates the importance of being a peacemaker.
Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
This is a key teaching that was passed on to the disciples, as is evident in their later writings.
James 3:17-18 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.
Peter also has much to say on this topic and offers wide-ranging insights that we could spend a lifetime in applying with those around us.
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.
When we are forgiving others, we are able to overlook insults and not pay back evil for evil. But Peter goes further by illustrating these worthy sentiments in a quotation from an Old Testament passage.
1 Peter 3:10-12 For the one who wants to love life and to see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, and let him turn away from evil and do what is good. Let him seek peace and pursue it, because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.
Peter here uses a direct quote from Psalm 34:12-16. So we can see that this idea of seeking peace was nothing new from the Old Testament into the New. When teaching about peace, forgiveness, and doing what’s right, Yeshua and his disciples were not teaching radical new doctrine at every turn, they were instead bringing forth the richness of established torah or instruction of God into their current day and situations.
To seek peace is to diligently look for it and to hunt for it until it can be found. To pursue peace is to chase after it once it’s found, as it seems to be an elusive quality that is always active and always moving. And this makes sense, as our interactions with others are not static. In all of our relationships, we are constantly making decisions that affect one another in both positive and negative ways. Therefore, peace needs to be reestablished at every new interaction.
One critical aspect of this peacemaking and forgiveness is provided in the context of the passage from Psalm 34.
Psalm 34:11-14 Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is someone who desires life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceitful speech. Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.
The fear of the Lord is demonstrated through seeking peace and doing good. Peacemakers can be called Sons of God because they fear the Lord. His children are those who believe in him and who have respect for him in all things. If we are not seeking peace and forgiveness with others, we are not exhibiting the basic characteristic required of his children: that we honor and respect God by honoring and respecting others. Forgiveness with the goal of creating peace is not a weakness, but a strength demonstrating a true fear of the Lord.
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