MARCH 2020
PEACE & LONGSUFFERING
Posted by: Bishop Billy Voeun

When we look at the world in which we live, we can observe that there is often a lack of peace. There is much unrest and so much suffering. Sometimes, this feeling comes up in our community or within our family circles when it is not very easy to find peace. Peace within ourselves as human beings can come and go, just like the “negotiated peace” that is sometimes imposed in conflict situations around the world. No matter how hard we as human beings try to create peace—even if we do manage to achieve this—it does not last long and we end up longing again for it. 

Let us ponder our motto for 2020, "Christ makes free!" which Chief Apostle Schneider gave us to bring true peace into our hearts. We all know that true peace comes from the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ, who works through the Holy Spirit, our Comforter. We feel at peace in each divine service when we hear the words of absolution: “… your sins are forgiven. The peace of the Risen One abide with you!” This is our assurance of inner peace which Jesus Christ grants us. The words of Holy Scripture also help make this clear: after His resurrection, the Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples and greeted them with the words: “Peace to you” (cf. Luke 24: 36). In John 14: 27, He tells His disciples: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The Lord knew that His disciples would be afraid after He ascended to His Father. Therefore the Lord Jesus even told them that the Helper, the Holy Spirit would come to teach them.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians 5: 16-26, he admonished the congregation to “Walk in the Spirit” and pointed out highlights of “the works of the flesh” and “the fruit of the Spirit” which is brought about by the Holy Spirit. His intention was to bring the believers back to true faith and peace, and to do so, he emphasized Christian freedom and responsibility. 

Longsuffering, or patience, goes hand in hand with peace. We need both virtues in order to wait for the Lord Jesus’ return. Apostle Paul wrote as follows in 1 Timothy 1: 16: “However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” When Apostle Paul suffered through all his hardships, he considered it a privilege to suffer with Christ. What a humble attitude!  

When Apostle Paul met Timothy, he was just a young man, who was also young in faith. Paul mentored him. Then, in his second letter to young Timothy, he exhorted him: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2: 3). This exhortation was not just for Timothy alone! We too can learn from this Bible text, and allow it to strengthen us in the time in which we live when we need these words most to keep up our fight of faith and prepare for Christ’s return.