“ Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up to cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (12:14-15)
Bitterness, once it takes root, is nearly impossible to remove and almost always causes us to fall short of God’s grace in one way or another!
We are told to “pursue peace with all people.” The word used for “peace” in this passage comes from a root word that literally means “the wholeness that you experience when all the essential parts are tied together!” It conveys the completeness of a relationship, the joining together of separate parts. We are to actively work toward bringing about this type of harmony.
However, this pursuit must go hand in hand with holiness. In other words, while this is to be our goal, peace is not to be practiced at all costs; declaring that there are no problems for the sake of a worldly type of unity is really no peace at all. Psalm 85:8-10 tells us that in God’s restoration process, “mercy and truth have met together….righteousness and peace will kiss.” Holiness and righteousness require truthfulness in discerning the problems that caused the broken relationship in the first place. It means we must agree with God as to what sin actually is.
Being a peacemaker, then, is to seek to bring people into a right relationship with God through Jesus. Anything short of this brings no true peace at all.