3 reasons why church shouldn't always be peaceful

Jesus said "blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9) So why isn't church always rainbows and sunshine? People get hurt, conflicts boil over, tensions rise, and it makes us wonder "what good is the church if there is just as much conflict there as anywhere else?" Shouldn't the church always be calm and peaceful?
I would like to make a case that it shouldn't.
Peace is a wonderful and holy thing, but only when it is true peace, and a lack of conflict is not necessarily the presence of true peace. True peace can be found at church, because true peace is only found in Christ, but that doesn't mean church should always be without conflict. So I would like to offer three reasons why church shouldn't always be peaceful.

1 - Peace may be hiding bitterness

Sometimes peace is only experienced at the surface level. We are broken people and there will be times that we hurt one another. It's what happens next that decides the health of the relationship. Are you afraid to tell someone you were hurt? Do you tell others about it without confronting the one who hurt you? Do you quietly swallow the hurt and pretend it didn't happen?

I have personally done all of the above, and though they created the fa├žade of peace, the tension never went away. Sometimes the best way to create lasting peace at church is by creating temporary conflict now so that it doesn't turn into bitterness that will rot away at everything else.

2 - Peace may ignore injustice

In the same vain, sometimes we see things that simply are not as they should be. MLK famously pointed out that 11AM on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week. Injustice is not just about laws, but it's also about the state of things. When abuse, neglect, trauma, and harm are presented to us, are we willing to see it?

My wife has a strong ability to spot problems in our house. One time she smelled gas in our previous home. She told me, but I was on my way to work and I couldn't smell it so I brushed it off. Fortunately she didn't brush it off and insisted we call someone. The fire department came and didn't smell anything either, but when they pulled out their instruments they found a pinhole leak in our furnace. If that had not been fixed it could have been deadly.

Injustice is never pointed out at a "convenient" time and if we want true peace in our churches, then we need to be willing to acknowledge and deal with injustice when it is shown to us. Dismissing problems is a false-peace.

3 - Peace may stunt growth

At Valley Chapel we are transforming into a community through whom God's love flows, but transformation requires us to admit when something is less than it could be. Peace, in this case can be a problem in church. If I am unwilling to allow God to change my mind, heart, or actions then I may have peace, but it is not a holy, good, or true peace. In fact, sometimes the most holy peace is experienced in the middle of seriously stressful situations.
So the church shouldn't always be peaceful, but the church definitely should be in pursuit of peace. This Sunday we will explore the role peace should play in church, and where true peace is found. I look forward to worshipping with you this week!
P.S. -  If you are unaware, Valley Chapel is partnered with two other Free Methodist Churches in the Area (Hope Chapel in Perry, and Dansville FMC in Dansville). Last week Pastor Colleen Dick in Dansville announced that she will be taking on a new role at Pearce Church in N. Chili. Please be in prayer for her, for the congregation at Dansville FMC, and for the conference leaders who will be working with them through this transition. We are familiar with how hard these transitions can be, so let's commit ourselves to supporting Dansville with our prayers through this season.

Ryan Rovito

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