If we are having trouble winning the peace in our relationships with others, the cause is probably multi-faceted. Peacemaking takes two, and we cannot create peace with those who insist on conflict. It is unhealthy to punish ourselves for failing to reconcile with someone who refuses to make amends. Two willing parties can also be sabotaged by those who wish to stir up trouble between them. Paul instructed Titus to warn a divisive person twice, then to have nothing to do with him because he is “warped and sinful.” Of course, Satan is hard at work in both the unwilling party and the divisive person to promote chaos in the world and inhibit those who wish to spread God’s grace.
But among these causes, we must be willing to admit our personal lack of peace can possibly spill over into our work of peace. This doesn’t mean, if we are in Christ, that we have lost the perfect peace of the Holy Spirit who inhabits us. Still, we should not assume the Spirit’s ministry is finished, or that our old human nature has been completely eradicated. The Apostle Paul himself had some occasional fallouts with others, notably with Barnabas over the inclusion of John Mark in a second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-41), a confrontation with Peter over the Gentile issue (Galatians 2:11-13), and controversy with errant brothers like Alexander the metalworker who did him “much harm” (2 Timothy 4:14). There is no way of knowing for sure what part, if any, Paul’s personality played in these difficulties, and there is no indication his issue with Peter left any irreparable damage. However, it is safe to say even the most committed believer can allow personal struggles to complicate the job of peace making.
The need for a borderless pass between the peace in us and the peace without does not suggest we should grow so fearful of conflict we are afraid to express our convictions. Winning the peace will naturally involve disagreements, debates, and agreements to disagree. It might also produce some serious wounds if we choose to arbitrate between quarrelers. Jesus was Peace in the flesh, but He still managed to alienate the Jewish Sanhedrin and bring the wrath of the Roman government down on His head.