“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, set things right, be encouraged, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11 NET).
“Peace” is a word that is often easy to use but may be difficult to define. For instance, “peace” generally implies a sense of contentment and/or well being. This can apply to the absence of external hostilities or internal conflicts like anxiety or insecurity. So a person who is free from internal or external discord is someone who is likely to be “at peace.”
The problem is that peace can be an elusive thing. In fact, peace can be so elusive that some people stop searching for it entirely. Those who do so may respond with an attempt to anesthetize their lack of peace through alcohol abuse, drug use (prescription or illicit), the accumulation of money, possessions, or relationships, or by engaging in any number of self-help strategies that seem to have merit but ultimately fail to address the underlying issues.
Those underlying issues (whatever they may be) are ultimately traceable back to the conflict that exists between human beings and their Creator– and the road to genuine peace begins with faith in Christ.
Nevertheless, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the epistle of 2 Corinthians was written to the members of the church in Corinth. The fact that these Corinthian Christians had to be encouraged to live in peace with one another implies that there were some within the church who failed to do so. Of course, this problem was not exclusive to the church at Corinth for Paul the Apostle issued similar reminders to the churches in Philippi and Thessalonica as well.
The New Testament book of Romans provides us with some important counsel on this subject…
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19 NIV).
So living in peace with everyone (especially with other members of God’s family) may sometimes require us to overlook faults, ignore slights (intentional or otherwise), or accept a loss even if we are in the right. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:20, “…where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” and this unity in Christ is more important than those differences we may have with one another.