“Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”- Psalm 119:165
I find myself stumbling a lot. I stumble over someone’s tone of voice and will spend time wondering why they are mad at me (even when they may not be, but I have adjudged them accordingly). I stumble over a memory. I stumble over a bad driver. I stumble when one of my kids makes that robot noise for the 13th time in 30 seconds. In short, I stumble a lot.
One could just as easily write that “The one who stumbles does not love God’s law and does not have great peace.”
Often people read such scriptures and translate them as being about the Bible. The bible is a part of it, but stopping there misses the point. God doesn’t ask us to fall in love with some thing; He wants us to be in love with some One.
When I remember that all of the law is summed up in the commands to love God and to love others, Matthew 22:40, Galatians 5:14, I realize why I fall short of great peace most of the time. If love means doing whatever it takes to serve others (i.e. being everyone’s slave (washing their feet), going to Golgotha and dying on an old rugged cross in the place of every person who ever lived or ever will live), then I know I don’t embrace God’s law very well.
All too often I find myself building up defenses to protect myself from all those (icky) others I’m supposed to be loving, even though God keeps reminding me that I can’t bear my cross and build a defense at the same time. I may know someone else is hurting, but I can’t bother myself with that because I’m hurting, too. Yes, that person may be on the verge of quitting, but that is their problem, not mine. And, with each one of those selfish statements I find myself hating God’s law and great peace flees from my heart.
Why is it that the peacemakers will be called Sons of God? Matthew 5:9. Because when we make peace with others, between others, for others, we are doing what God does. We are loving, building bridges, and building relationships. When we make peace with someone we are given peace. When we show mercy we are shown mercy. Matthew 5:7. When we forgive we are forgiven.
Love gives everything for the prize. Christ gave His authority, His place in Heaven, His life on earth, even His intimacy with the Father, for the prize of our love and our eternity. Christ taught about the shepherd who would leave the 99 sheep to go and find the one lost sheep, picking him up and carrying him home. And, when there is someone in your life who most rejects you and makes loving them very difficult because of all the defenses they’ve built up, then that person is likely the one who needs your love the very most. Be prepared to take up your cross and bear it constantly to love that person wholeheartedly. As you go, remember what Christ did for you and that He has given you everything you need for life and godliness. 2 Peter 1:3; Hebrews 12:1-3.