Did you know that Canada has been at war with Denmark? Between December 1973 to June 2022, we sparred with Denmark over an island in Greenland no larger than the front yard of our church, each claiming it as their territory. We would remove their flag, plant our flag on the island and leave a bottle of whiskey as good will. Then Denmark would remove our flag and plant theirs, leaving a bottle of whiskey for us as a good will gesture as well. This 48 year war has been called “the Whiskey War” for that reason. (Seriously! Go check it out online.) But yesterday, June 14, 2022, our two countries finally came to the mutual agreement that we would draw a virtual line in the middle of that uninhabited island and settle with half an island each!
It’s a comical tale, but real indeed! More importantly, it reminds me that it is possible to solve differences in peace. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). That’s a curious statement. It means that those who make peace when others prefer fighting make themselves clearly identifiable as God’s children. James tells us that when we sow in peace, we reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18). This past Sunday, I sat with our worship teams at church, hammering out a philosophy of ministry as to how songs are selected that had been creating lots of unresolved discussion among our leaders. We brought our thoughts to the table, and in two hours, we ended up with mutual agreement over a strong ministry statement that you will hear about in the days to come. From peace comes the joy of serving in unity. My thoughts go to many other places that need this lesson of peace in the Spirit: the tensions in our marriages, the hurts in our relationships, or the unforgiven offenses of our past. James reminds us that anger can never be called righteous because it cannot achieve God’s righteousness (James 1:20), and Paul calls such grudge keeping a scheme of Satan to undo us (2 Corinthians 2:11). Make peace. Release hurt. Forgive. And we don’t have to take 48 years to end a war.