Peace to You, Brother: Change a Greeting, Change the World

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:2, NIV) This is a very simple greeting, but as is so often true, the simple is sometimes the most profound.

Author Linda Olsson said, “It’s often about the simple things, isn’t it? Painting and photography are first about seeing, they say. Writing is about observing. Technique is secondary. Sometimes the simple is the most difficult.” We live in such a complex world, but at the root of all complexity is simplicity, so maybe it makes sense to take all of the world’s problems and begin to address them at a very simple level.

A Simple Place to Start

Consider the act of greeting one another. In everyday conversational exchanges, we say “Hi! What’s up? How are you? Hello there!” or as Joey Tribbiani (from “Friends”) would say, “How YOU doin’?” And while friendly enough, these greetings don’t really carry the same love or impact that saying “Grace and Peace to you, my friend’ would carry.

What if you did something simple, and greeted everyone with “Grace and Peace to you”, and meant it? Would it change anyone’s day? Would it change YOUR day? It would certainly make people think…and it might make YOU think.

First of all, it assumes you know about Grace, and that you wish it upon your fellow-man. What if you really felt that way? What if EVERYONE really felt that way? If you just stop to consider for a moment the magnitude of Grace and how healing and redeeming it truly is, imagine how different life would be if all of us approached everyone with Grace! Wouldn’t we all be in an amazing place if everyone had the goodwill and the passion to wish grace upon each other (and therefore) the world?

No Peace, or Know Peace?

The second part of the greeting has just as much potential: “Peace to you”.

peace sign

How would being peaceful change the world? Ron Artest (an NBA player) changed his name to “Meta World Peace”, but I’m not sure that even changed Ron Artest. The Baby Boomers flashed the peace sign and protested war, but did it really change anything? I think Paul is referring here to the personal inner kind rather than world peace, but if you think about it, if every individual found peace perhaps the world would as well.

But think about it: how many people do you know who are both graceful and forgiving? How many people do you encounter who would benefit from being both MORE graceful and MORE forgiving?

We live in the Polar Age, where culture encourages people to divide into opposing social groups, political parties, and critical camps. It’s Conservatives versus Liberals, Whites versus Blacks, Haves versus have-nots, Straights versus Gays, what I want versus what everyone else wants… No matter where you are in any of those polar opposites, could you sincerely wish the other side “Grace and Peace”? What would happen if you DID?

In John 14:27, Jesus said, “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.” If He was generous enough to leave us His Peace, the least we could do is share it with each other.

A New Way to do Social Media

In a world of polar hate, Full of insult and debate,
Could we try another way? To simply and sincerely say,
“Grace and Peace, my Friend, to YOU. Easy to say, but hard to DO
We can change our attitude, give “peace” and not be misconstrued,
Have dialog and not be rude, and keep from being lewd or crude!
No more insults to be hurled: Change your greeting, change the world!

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When Jesus Said Peace Be Still, Maybe He was Talking to Us

Storms will Come

With all that is going on in the world, there is much to be fearful about. Peace is in short supply between governments, between political parties, and between the newscasts that assault our sensibilities every day. When it comes to having peace in this world, it’s not so much a matter of mastery over circumstance, but it is more a Matter of Faith… Like many of us the disciples faced a storm in their lives; and like many of us, they were stressed and fearful.

“He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:38-40, NIV) Jesus and his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee when a sudden storm blew up. Apparently exhausted, Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat. He had been surrounded by needy crowds all day and had entered the boat to get away. But Mark says “a furious squall came up.”

be still

Cause for Concern?

Even though several of them were seasoned fishermen, they were so concerned for their safety that they woke Jesus up in alarm. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He calmed the sea and the wind, and asked them a couple of questions of his own: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Perhaps it surprises us that the disciples, who had a relationship with Jesus, did not feel secure in Him. They still didn’t have a clear understanding of who He was. It surprises us that the disciples, who had seen Jesus perform miracles, were still afraid. Let’s try to make a couple of observations about this passage.

Who’s In Charge?

1) It’s easier to have faith when there is no need for it. When we have plenty of evidence, lots of assurance, and a measure of comfort and ease, then everybody has faith. But what about when the storms of life break upon us, and the dangers of this world surround us? What about when our eyes are blinded by the driving rain, and our hearts quake with uncertain fear? What happens when we realize suddenly that we are not in control?

That’s when faith takes center stage and becomes real to us. That’s when it makes sense to turn to our sense of control over to our Creator. People said in World War II, “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” I think most veterans of combat would agree. Faith matters most amidst uncertainty.


2) Like the disciples, all of us will encounter situations where the demands of life are greater than our resources or experience. There are moments when our faith wavers, and we panic and lose heart. Faith matters then, too. (Maybe Peter was thinking of this moment when he wrote 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your cares upon Him, because he cares for you.”)

When you are anxious and worried, do you carry your burden alone? When the problems of this world seem insurmountable, remember the one who said, “In this world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:31)

3) The disciples did not find assurance in psychology, technology, or theology. They found comfort in the presence of Jesus. They took heart in his words, and their faith was recalibrated as a result. If you have a relationship with Jesus, take back your faith, and find comfort in his presence. Take heart in his words. Perhaps when Jesus said, “Peace, be still”, he was talking to more than just the wind and the waves.

Master of The Storm

The night was stormy, dark and cold;
And we were fishermen, tough and bold,
But we grew discouraged & hopes were dimmed
By towering waves and threatening wind.
So all of my mates all began to quake
From the boisterous wind on the stormy lake.
But Jesus slept in the back of the boat,
So tossed by the waves it could hardly float,
And some of the guys woke him up in alarm,
Concerned that we would all come to harm…
Jesus said, “Why are you so afraid?
Where is your faith? Believe!” He said,
And he looked at the waves and said, “Peace, be still”.

It gave our fearful hearts a thrill
When the waves grew calm, and the wind lost its chill:
It amazed me then; it amazes me still.I guess you had to have been there, then,
But try to picture it if you can:
A bunch of tough old fishermen
Now asking ourselves, “Who IS this man?”
But here’s the question I had that night,
When Jesus spoke and made things right,
(Said, “Peace, be still”, and we all could see,
That the waves grew as calm as they could be):
Was he talking to THEM, or was he talking to ME?

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here:
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here:
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here:
For the Kindle Edition, go here: