Hebrews – Chapter Twelve XXV

by Ed Urzi

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

As we continue our look at the subject of peace from Hebrews 12:14, we can turn once again to the Biblical book of Proverbs for guidance. The book of Proverbs contains a wealth of practical counsel that can help us manage conflict in a way that honors God. In fact, a look through this Old Testament book of wisdom reveals a surprising amount of content that is devoted to this subject.

For instance, consider the following passages and the insight they offer as we seek to “Pursue peace with all people“…

“A patient person shows great understanding, but a quick-tempered one promotes foolishness” (Proverbs 14:29 HCSB).

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (Proverbs 15:1 NLT).

“Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace” (Proverbs 15:18 GNT).

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7 ESV).

“Better to be slow to anger than to be a mighty warrior, and one who controls his temper is better than one who captures a city” (Proverbs 16:32 NET).

“Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before the argument gets out of control” (Proverbs 17:14 GW).

“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs” (Proverbs 19:11 NLT).

“Honor belongs to the person who ends a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3 CSB).

“Patience and gentle talk can convince a ruler and overcome any problem” (Proverbs 25:15 CEV).

In addition, the New Testament book of James adds some additional insight: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17-18). Thus, we are reminded of an important reality: if our vertical relationship with God is right, our horizontal relationships with others will benefit as well.

This does not mean that we are obligated to avoid conflict at all costs, or seek “peace at any price.” Nevertheless, we will be well on our way to a proper application of this verse if we consider what will make for peace in our relationships with others. While there may be any number of things that provoke irritation, annoyance, or hostility towards others, such feelings must defer to the counsel given to us in Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking” (ERV).