Aleichem Shalom!

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“Shalom” is a salutation by Jewish people at the time of the meeting or parting, that simply means “peace”. In response, people will say “Aleichem shalom”, meaning “to you, peace,” while the literal meaning of Shalom is tranquillity and the absence of agitation, spiritually it explains the divine peace that passes all understanding. As a salutation, this meaningful word, leaving aside all its significance, is used as a simple greeting such as ‘howdy.’ Gradually people forget the powerful meaning of this word and use it to greet each other to initiate a conversation. Eventually, it resulted in people losing their peace because of their lack of knowledge about the divine peace. Similarly, in the present scenario, people greet each other with the salutation “Praise the Lord” to initiate a dialogue that might not be praising God or even pleasing in the sight of God.

I Give You My Peace!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

While He was about to leave His disciples, Jesus prepared them to face the consequences of His crucifixion. To strengthen them, Jesus gave His peace to them and said this peace is not the one the world gives you. He gave His peace to keep them safe during troubles and to make them courageous during frightening situations. He asks us to differentiate His peace from that of the world. Worldly peace gives us momentary safety accompanied by many threats. The Peace of God keeps us safe amidst the threats and challenges of this world. The Peace of God assures our future in this world and our life after death because, in a peaceful atmosphere, our souls attain maturity to inherit His Kingdom.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4:17

The world gives us peace when we are at peace. When we are troubled, the world has no solution except to aggravate our situation to the worst. The people who seek worldly peace look at the threats that surround the people of God, while they fail to see the God who surrounds them.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:15-17

Through the above scripture portion, we can see how Elijah surpassed all the threats of that morning (Philippians 4:7) with the Peace of God, to see the chariots of fire around him. We have to still our hearts using His peace (Psalm 46:10). Paul made use of the Peace of God to understand the outcome of every challenge he faced.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Peace Be With You!

When we do not retain the peace offered by God, the devil attacks us in every way and then with a tumultuous heart, we do not allow God to accomplish His will in our lives. Anger and frustration are the most common factors that prevent the intervention of God in our lives.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

John 20:21-23

The resurrected Jesus gave peace to His disciples with the option of forgiving others. The disciples failed to retain the peace that Jesus gave because they did not pardon the people who crucified Jesus out of anger and frustration. As a result, they forfeited the peace they received from Jesus. We must understand that forgiveness plays a prominent role in retaining God-given peace. As the disciples lost the peace, Jesus asked them to stay in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit for the second time.

The peace of God is the fundamental requirement for the children of God to discern His ways. While we sense the pain, a surgeon cannot proceed with his surgery, and anaesthesia numbs our pain which enables the doctor to perform the procedures. Similarly, the peace that surpasses all the worries of this world is essential for us to allow God to accomplish His purpose in our lives. Adam did not even know about his need for a companion and had a good peaceful sleep that enabled God to fulfil His purpose of creating a woman. Who knows what else God wants to create with our peaceful relationship with Him.

Human Endeavors To Earn Peace

Not understanding the Peace of God, we often endeavour to earn peace of mind. In this journey, we fail to receive His peace as we engage ourselves in making peace with one another. The devil prevents people from obtaining the Peace of God by quoting the Bible verses and guides them with an opposite approach, thereby igniting enmity and frustration among us rather than everlasting peace.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18

because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:18-19

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24

Often, these verses lead people to rely on their deeds to maintain peace with one another. Based on these verses, we make amends with people rather than God. While making amends with people, either we have to justify our stand or make the opponent blameworthy. Another probability is to accept our mistakes and acknowledge their good deeds. The former will alert our opponent to defend his stand while the latter will lead them to underestimate us as cowards. Either way, we are not gaining peace but rather losing it. Jesus would not have quoted this illustration to destroy our peace. Once, He also spoke about destroying our relationships to give us His Peace. Jesus does not ask us to ignore our offenders or our mistakes and move forward, but He intends to teach us something better.

Our State Of Mind

Where do we go wrong in making amends? To obtain the Peace of God first, we should identify our mistakes and make amends. God does not ask us to pardon people on our own but forgive them through Him. When Jesus asks us to go to our brothers and sister who have something against us, He does not mean that we should go and justify our stand to them or accept that we are blameworthy. Instead, He asks us to come to Him, leaving the enmity behind to serve Him. If we read the previous verse, we could understand that Jesus is not talking about the state of mind of brothers and sisters but ours.

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Matthew 5:22

It is all about our judgment of others irrespective of their blameworthiness. A prayer confessing our wrong perspective is a gesture to move forward and accomplish the purpose of God in our lives. God is not pleased when we judge our brothers and sisters unworthy because He is the one who made them worthy to live on this earth. If we are confident about their evil deeds against us, instead of handling them, if we ask God to forgive them, we will have enormous peace in our hearts and minds, paving way for God to accomplish His purpose in our lives. When we strive to solve the problem, the situation might end up in break-up instead of build-up.

A Case Study

Joseph saw a vision of his father and brothers bowing down in front of him. But nothing happened in his life as a sign of the fulfilment of his dream. Yet Joseph believed that God would make it happen and went ahead on the path God led him. His brother sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. God prepared the way for Joseph to receive honour from his father and brothers. But nothing has come to pass quickly. After facing many trials and challenges, Pharoh made Joseph his second in command. While having all the authority in his hand, Joseph focused on storing large quantities of grain to save the people from the upcoming famine.

Joseph did not misuse his authority to venture out in search of his father and brothers for reconciliation and to prove the correctness of his vision. Instead, he used the power and wisdom given by God to save the people from famine. Joseph obtained an abundance of peace in his heart by doing the will of God. As a result, God fulfilled the vision he showed to Joseph, as his brothers bowed down before him.

God does not need our helping hand to fulfil his promises in our lives. We should submit ourselves to Him and not find any shortcuts to fulfil His promises in our lives. He is able to fulfil His promises, and we should let Him do His will in our lives, ignoring our circumstances. To retain the Peace of God in our hearts forever, we should learn to say, “Not my willbut yours be done.”

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