Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Achieving peace is not the end of the matter: a guest post from Tim Fall

Today I'm very happy to feature a guest post by my friend and fellow writer, Tim Fall. I always enjoy reading the encouraging posts he offers on his blog, Just One Train Wreck After Another. His blog subtitle is "Honoring God, encouraging people": a very fitting description of the way Tim writes and interacts with his followers and commenters

I hope you'll enjoy reading Tim's thoughtful reflection here. I think his discussion of peace, truth, and freedom is very relevant today in our contentious society, where "just keeping the peace" seems like a safe default position.

Please leave a comment or question, too, if you'd like!

Achieving Peace Is Not the End of the Matter

We don't use the phrase "public servant" much these days, but the concept behind it is as old as the first community that ever gathered together for mutual support, aid and society. As a trial court judge, this quote reminds me of what that means for the public I serve.

“It is at all times proper that misunderstanding
 between the public and the public servant should be avoided.” 
 - Abraham Lincoln, September 1863

A retired judge once advised me in handling courthouse administration, "I've found that more communication is almost always better than less." And in following his advice I've found in turn that more communication works well not only in my courtroom, but also with my colleagues, my community, and in my personal life. There are times when judges are barred from disclosure but typically it's best to let all concerned have the information they seek. That way we can best avoid the misunderstandings Lincoln advised against.

Family, work, school, church

Misunderstandings may be avoidable, but fixing them isn't. The advice Paul gave the Christians in Rome in the 1st Century CE extends to all aspects of life still today:

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18.)

Achieving peace is not the end of the matter, though, if peace comes at the cost of truth. Truth is what Jesus identified as the means to true freedom, after all.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32.)

It is truth that frees us to know true peace. This truth is Jesus himself as he said in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life." And if in knowing Jesus we know truth, then we achieve true peace as well since he is the very Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6.)

Abraham Lincoln said there should be no misunderstandings between a public servant and the public. Jesus is the ultimate servant:

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45.)

After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11.)

He desires there be no misunderstanding between him and the people he came to serve and save. In his final hours he assured his followers:

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:25-26.)

Let there be no misunderstanding about it. The Holy Spirit guides you in knowing the truth of Jesus, the truth that sets you free in God's peace.


Lincoln spoke of the responsibilities of those in government, but the need to guard against misunderstanding extends to private groups and individuals as well: in your family, at work or school, at church. How does the fact that Jesus is the source of both truth and peace encourage you to clear up misunderstandings with others in those areas?


 [Tim is a California native who changed his major three times, colleges four times, and took six years to get a Bachelor’s degree in a subject he’s never been called on to use professionally. Married for almost 30 years with two grown kids, his family is constant evidence of God’s abundant blessings in his life. He and his wife live in Northern California. He blogs, and is on Twitter and Facebook too.]


  1. Jeannie, you are one of the people who brings peace to every discussion I've ever seen you in, so if any of your readers want an example of what I'm writing about here they can look to you!

    1. That's very kind of you, Tim -- thanks! And thanks for being my guest here on the blog. Hope to get some smokin' hot comments as the day goes on.

    2. smokin' - now you've reminded me of this prayer:


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