We are not talking about peace at the expense of truth. Where there is no truth, peace will certainly unravel due to distrust and disrespect. This explains why parents who manage their children by giving them everything they want and refusing to hold them accountable for their actions sometimes find themselves hopelessly at war. Indeed, there is hope, but the pain required to reverse the thought processes in their home will be significant. We can uphold the truth and still find ourselves embattled, but choosing to circumvent principle is one way to guarantee a negative outcome.
Truth builds trust between people. Combined with love and respect, it has a freeing effect on those who have struggled with conflict all of their lives, but could never figure out why. It exposes issues between loved ones who have danced around the proverbial “elephant in the room” for years, but have never been able to see it clearly. And it provides hope because truth is a light that help deliver those who are lost from their blindness.
When the older son in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal pouted on the back forty, his father tried to reason with him. The son was furious because he had served faithfully for many years, and his father had never thrown him a party. In addition, his younger brother who was had become the subject of so much joy, had squandered his life in sin. The older son was basing his anger on these tenets he believed to be true. Indeed, he had the facts straight, but his truth was incomplete. He was ignoring the guarantee that he would inherit everything his father owned because of his faithfulness. And while his brother had wasted many things, he was home safe, which was an answer to his father’s prayer. We aren’t told whether or not the older son changed his attitude, but he was certainly confronted with a purer and more accurate picture of his circumstances.
Peacemakers establish a foundation for peace with love and truth. If they have been honest with God about their own sin their hearts are in the right place to seek reconciliation with and between others. If they know God’s peace, purchased in love, they care enough to win personal peace with others as a necessary step in showing them the face of God.