Daniel 2:20-22 “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.”
You’ve probably heard of the Christmas truce during world war 1, the improbability of it all still confounds the mind and lends itself to legend.
‘Soldiers wrote home to their families, to their wives, and to their parents, saying, ‘You won’t believe it.”
The Christmas song Silent Night has long been a cherished part of our shared culture — in 2011 it was even granted UNESCO cultural heritage status.
But the power of the carol was never so clear as on Christmas Eve 1914, when fighting on the battlefields of World War I stopped – and a lone soldier’s exquisite voice made history.
“It was impromptu, no one planned it,” Stanley Weintraub, the author of Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, told Daybreak South’s Chris Walker.
“It has to begin with something, and it did begin with elements of shared culture. If it hadn’t been for shared culture, certainly there would have been no Christmas truce.”
Weintraub said it started with German officer, Walter Kirchhoff, a tenor with the Berlin Opera.
“He came forward and sang Silent Night in German, and then in English. In the clear, cold night of Christmas Eve, his voice carried very far.
“The shooting had stopped and in that silence he sang and the British knew the song and sang back.”
Gradually the troops crawled forward into No Man’s Land, said Weintraub.
The song had a deep impact on many of the soldiers.
“Soldiers … wrote home the day after to their families, to their wives, and to their parents, saying, ‘You won’t believe this. It was like a waking dream.'”
“They recognized that on both ends of the rifle, they were the same.”
A Common Thread
Many stories that have incredible tales of impossible ends have common traits that prevail within them; the story of the Christmas truce in 1914 was one such story. How can a world war come to a halt and both sides reconcile for a time by simply having a mutual purpose?
Peace is difficult to come by but not impossible to attain. In much the same way this event occurred, so we will see the advent of peace upon the earth at the end of days. The Lord Jesus will be the unifying factor for all of God’s people; He will restore peace upon the Earth and bring about an improbable end to a tragic story.
Corporate peace is one thing, but individual peace is another. Unity can be difficult to come by, whether the relationship is a co-worker, friend, neighbor, or it’s your marriage, maintaining unity provides a long list of challenges.
Are there any commonalities in relationships that provide insight into where wars and factions come from?
When trouble Starts
When examining marriage, we can gain insight into what unity should look like or why it can be difficult to achieve. The most common problems within marriages include:
- Communication issues–without good communication, problems arise for lack of understanding.
- Ignoring Boundaries–by trying to change a partner into what you think is ideal, you force them into a mold that is uncharacteristic for that person; this causes anxiety and strife among both people.
- Lack of Intimacy–if one person is emotionally distant in a relationship, then attempting a time of intimacy becomes unnatural and meaningless. Resolving issues before hand helps drive intimacy within a marriage.
- Emotional or sexual infidelity–when couples become emotionally distant, vulnerability to pornography or an illicit relationship becomes more enticing. What started as simpler issue can explode into a devastating one very quickly.
- Money arguments–the philosophy of how money should be used can lead to conflict. One spouse may want to save and the other likes to spend. Lack of unity with money is a driving force for trouble.
- Selfishness–If one spouse consistently places their needs over the other, feelings of rejection or lack of love is what is commonly perceived. Relationships must be built on selflessness to survive, this eventually leads to more freedom than originally thought.
- Value Differences–if a person’s core set of beliefs conflicts with their spouses beliefs, trouble will eventually ensue. This factor of unity in Christ is one of the primary directives God gives believers for perspective spouses. Being unequally yoked is what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 6:14. Believers in Christ should not marry unbelievers, the thought one spouse will lead the other to Christ is another boundary issue in marriages.
- Different Life Stages–a young wife may want kids while an older husband wants to travel and have more of a later stage relationship. The conflicts from transitioning into stages at different times can lead to heartache.
- Boredom–it’s so easy to get caught up in consistent patterns of life, that relationships then become forgotten. Neglect your relationship with your spouse and you’ll find yourself drifting apart.
- Jealousy–a quick way for a marriage to turn sour is to have a jealous spirit. Some jealousy is because one spouse is careless in how they express affection to others, not giving consideration to their spouses feelings. Other jealousy is simply a result of insecurity and is unrealistic, this may need to be addressed by a counselor.
When considering these ten examples of marital trouble, we can see how conflict arises within a relationship that was supposed to be built on love. Take these reasons and apply them on a grander scale and you’ll see many similarities of conflict shared between neighbors, friends, in churches or on a much grander scale…between countries.
How many wars have occurred because of a conflict of resources? What about communication issues between leaders, or differences in values (muslim or christian), from jealousy to internal strife from economic hardship, wars and conflicts can occur at every level of relationship.
Unity of Purpose
Unity can be difficult to come by if at the core of the heart resides a difference of perspective; this is why relationships at a foundational level must start with Jesus.
Ephesians 4:1-3 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The Spirit of God is the unifying purpose of believers in the church. In like manner, the Spirit brings a common bond within a marriage.
Imagine what would happen if two countries had christian leaders and were predominantly christian among its people. We will see this occur one day, when Jesus reigns and becomes the unifying factor among nations. When the curse is broken and God’s people are made new, then peace will reign.
The pining of error today is a direct consequence of sin.
As long as people have a sinful nature, sin will abound.
When Jesus came 2000 years ago, He brought an opportunity for peace. Peace between God and man and peace within mankind itself. The world continually strives for peace apart from Christ but their efforts will continually be found unsubstantiated.
John 14:27 “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.”
Peace has to start in the heart and then it expands into relationship. If you want to know peace, start with accepting Jesus as your Savior. Build every relationship on the foundational premise of God’s abiding presence and you’ll find a perspective that exceeds anything you’ve ever known.