“And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”” (Luke 7:50, ESV)
Peace is the one thing that is lacking in many churches today. Perhaps it is because it is one thing that is lacking in many believers today. Maybe I am projecting this on others because of a lack of peace in my own life, but I think not. Very few of us, including Christians, exude a sense of peace and calm.
Notice that Jesus does not say, “your service has saved you, go in peace.” Nor does he say, “your confident statements about the quality and quantity of your faith have saved you.” It is the woman’s faith that is demonstrated by her actions that have saved her.
The result of that faith should be peace.
Why, then, is peace missing from the Christian experience?
One reason I have observed is that I place unrealistic expectations on myself and others as to how a Christian should behave. Any time you begin a sentence with “Good Christians don’t . . .” or “Good Christians do . . .” stop and reevaluate what you are about to say. Those unrealistic expectations lead to frustration that will destroy peace.
Another reason for a lack of peace is a distorted view of the Gospel. When I understand the enormity of the debt I owed but could not pay, and further understand that Jesus has satisfied that debt, it should bring a great relief that leads to peace. Yet, perhaps because I think myself better than I am, I attempt to earn enough to satisfy my own debt. This is a little like a child breaking his piggy bank to pay the trillions of dollars of debt that irresponsible politicians have accrued.
Tim Keller has given a short summary of the Gospel that I have found helpful. I may not have it word-for-word because I cannot remember where I found it, but it goes something like this:
I am more deeply flawed than I ever dared believe, but I am more deeply loved than I ever thought possible.
Faith brings us under the umbrella of that love, a love that cannot be put off by our flaws.
That understanding should allow us to go in peace.