It was on this day in 1977 that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin met with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to begin discussing peace between the two countries. This would eventually lead to what was called, “The Camp David Accords” of 1978. The terms of the agreement called for Israel to relinquish control of the Sinai Peninsula giving it back to Egypt and, in turn, Egypt would recognize Israel as a sovereign nation. For many years, Egypt was the only Muslim nation to recognize Israel as a sovereign state. Unfortunately, just a few years after the signing of this treaty, Sadat was assassinated in Cairo by those who thought he had betrayed the Muslim world by making peace with Israel.
This prompts a question that all of us need to address: How important is it to make peace with those with whom we are at odds? Messiah said this:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
Other verses also address the fact that when we respond to anger with peaceful words rather than harsh words, we more closely emulate our Father. We please Him when we strive to have peace with our brother. On the other hand, it’s important to understand that true peace doesn’t necessarily equate to a lack of conflict. A lack of conflict might be nothing more than a cease fire, which is simply a holding pattern until the next conflict. In other words, sometimes true peace can only come as a result of intense conflict. Look at every major war just in the last century; aggressive behavior resulted in conflict which ultimately led to peace.
To grasp this concept, we need look no further than our own lives. When we are born again, we are given a new nature, one that is predisposed to serve God and not ourselves. However, until we receive our glorified body, we are continually struggling to suppress the old man who wishes to rise up and defeat our spirit man. Therefore, we shouldn’t think that we can agree to a cease fire with our carnal inclinations because our spirit man is at war with our flesh. These two impulses can’t and should not coexist with one another. One or the other, the good or the carnal, is going to win. If we try to live at peace with our evil inclination – this mortal flesh – it will simply wait for us to let our guard down and then, it would attack.
We must all acknowledge and then crucify our flesh, every day. Also be aware that, sometimes, those evil inclinations like to disguise themselves in robes of piety, in other words, pretending to be Godly when in fact they are carnal. When we consistently crucify our flesh then we can realize true peace in our lives. Again, for there to be harmony, sometime there has to be conflict and conflict requires there to be true courage. Most people don’t like conflict. They just want everybody to be happy and to be “at peace.” While we certainly appreciate that attitude, sometimes peace comes only when a conflict is resolved. Remember, a cease fire only delays the fight; we want true peace and to attain that requires true courage.
Our words should not be interpreted as a suggestion to go looking for a fight. We are suggesting that, when conflict arises, we should not necessarily run away from it. We must possess the courage to confront the situation, call upon the Creator to give us Spirit-led wisdom and deal properly with the situation so that there can be true peace.
Say what you want about him, but Anwar Sadat demonstrated courage when he entered into a peace treaty with Israel. He did this knowing the hostile environment in which he lived and which eventually took his life. Still, even with some bumps and bruises along the way, that peace treaty has been a great asset to the Israeli people. That’s something to consider as we seek to resolve conflict and make peace with our brothers.