Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
In Hebrew, the word “shalom” is translated as “peace.” Shalom is not the absence of conflict, but can be described as a state of wholeness, wellness, tranquility, centeredness, confidence, and calmness. The “priestly blessing” found in Numbers 6:24-26 indicates that the LORD grants us peace when he turns his face (or his presence) towards us. The Psalmist encourages us to seek peace so we can enjoy the life God has given.
Similarly, in Matthew 5:9, Jesus speaks of “peacemakers” as being called “sons of God.” In addition, James indicates that the wisdom that comes from “above” is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18). Moreover, Christ not only brings us to “peace with God and each other” but Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus brings us to peace with God and to peace with each other.
True peace, or “Shalom,” is only possible in Christ. Jesus is the one that makes us whole, complete, blameless, and acceptable in the sight of God. Our unity, our peace, is found when we each center our thoughts, actions, and reactions in Christ, and in the work that Jesus has done equally for each one of us. Therefore, peace is not found through a worldly sense of “agreement” or “lack of conflict” but in our common bond in Christ alone.
It is Jesus that makes us one with each other. Jesus creates our unity in Himself. Our job is to preserve the unity Jesus has already created through a bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). Jesus, through the Spirit, prompts us to be peace-makers with each other-to “sow” peace. James talks about the actions that make for peace when he outlines them in James 3;18: being considerate, submissive, full of mercy, good fruit, impartial and sincere. Thus as we pursue “Shalom” in which of these characteristics must we grow?