In the Gospel passage (John 14:27-31a), Jesus assures us that in him there is no reason to be afraid nor for our hearts to feel troubled. The opposite of a troubled heart is peace, but very often we head for the wrong kind of peace, he says.
When a spouse or friend argues with us, we try to regain peace by proving that we’re right or by making the other person agree with us. And when this doesn’t work? How then can we find peace? Maybe we punish the person by using “the silent treatment” or by refusing to have a good time together until we get an apology. And when this doesn’t produce peace, then what?
For every troubling situation, we try a multitude of worldly ways to feel peaceful again: We anesthetize ourselves with alcohol or drugs or food addition or burying ourselves in work. We insist on our own way, or we pout and withdraw, or we dump the problem into someone else’s lap and run away. We blame others to appease our own guilt. And when this fails to calm our fears or soothe our troubled hearts? Then what?
Even when our troublesome trials end, our troubled hearts are never fully satisfied. Burnt once, we shy away from all flickering flames, wary that one of them will explode and burn us again. Cynicism and self-protective walls that shut others out are a sure sign that we’re not turning to Jesus for the peace that only he can give.Read More »