Don’t dump integrity to pursue peace

By Apostle Frederick K.C. Price

The following is an excerpt from Apostle Price's book, Integrity: The Guarantee for Success

In Second Timothy 2:24, Paul tells Timothy that a bishop, or leader, and consequently the people, should not be contentious or given to fighting in the sense of being the aggressor.

Part of the ideal and standard that Paul is holding up before Timothy is that the man or woman of integrity is a person of peace and always under control -- one who maintains composure and will not go off in anger. This kind of person is deeply touched by any unrest, controversy or disturbance and, consequently, will work to bring peace and unity.

It is only fitting that as a person of integrity, you strive to have peace rather than striving against others and causing confusion. You ought to be at peace with others as well as with yourself because the heavenly Father is the God of peace. Just look at what Paul wrote in First Corinthians 14:33:

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

It could not be any plainer than this; God is the author of peace.

Having said that, I want to point out that in this scripture there are two extremes given: confusion and peace. Neither of these extremes just happens. James 3:16 says that where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every work are there. In either case, confusion is the result of something. A person has to do something for there to be confusion and, likewise, a person has to do something for there to be peace.

This explains why First Peter 3:10-11 says:

For "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.

“Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.”

We are told to seek and pursue peace. In other words, peace has to be sought; it does not just happen.

So, you do not sacrifice integrity or morality and ethics to have peace, as some would suggest. You are not supposed to simply let the status quo be the status quo, when the status quo is wrong – that is not how to have peace. Going along with whatever someone else wants is not doing what the scripture says and pursuing peace. Rather, it is just letting things go.

In fact, it is a dangerous thing to do. There are people who will take advantage and run right over you. They need to be stopped. Every person should not have his way, and so your job is to resist him. Sometimes you have to resist hostility in order to arrive at peace. This is how you seek and pursue peace.

Integrity confronts wrongdoing

Challenges will not go away by themselves. There are ungodly things going on now that never would have gotten to this point if people of integrity had acted responsibly and gotten involved instead of just standing by – hoping and a praying – while letting things go. Now there is a mess. Integrity demands that you stand for what is right despite the cost. Of course, you do it in love and with as long a fuse as possible.

People say, "Why talk about such and such a problem?  We’ll never get rid of it." With that kind of attitude, they are absolutely right. We will never get rid of the evil and injustices in our society if we never confront them. We will never get rid of them if we allow them to run their course. Integrity confronts wrongdoing.

God does not expect us to put up with “everything” to have peace. When Paul told Timothy that part of the standard was not to be quarrelsome, he was not saying to never fight. After all, he admonished Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. Since Paul was writing under the unction of the Spirit of the Lord, God must not be opposed to fighting; it just depends upon what kind of fight and who is involved. And even though Jesus is the Prince of Peace, nowhere in the Bible does it mention anyone pushing Him around. Jesus had a long fuse. But once He moved, He moved decisively. We need to be the same way.

We need to realize that whatever we allow in our lives, God has no choice but to allow because He has given us a free will. Besides, this earth is our home – not His. If something needs fixing in our lives or in this world, we are the ones who will have to fix it. It will never get fixed if we have the kind of attitude that assumes things cannot be made better. Just because we do not already see a certain thing being done, does not mean that it is impossible to do.

And forget about trying to pray away every adversity. If it did not get there through prayer, it is not going to leave just through prayer. I am not saying that prayer will not help, but that sometimes things have to be confronted. We have to confront the wrong that we see. Sometimes we will have to fight a war to get peace.

People who do not know much about the things of God will think I am advocating violence and trying to stir up trouble. Their whole concept of godliness is to be a doormat, letting others do and say what they want.

God’s nature is love and peace

But in reading and studying the Bible, you can see that it was never in God’s plan and purpose for anyone to enjoy anything but peace. In fact, Second Corinthians 13:11 tells us that the very nature of God is love and peace. Yet it is up to us to do what it takes to have peace in our lives, our families, our communities, and in the world. Whatever we tolerate is what we will have. The heavenly Father has done His part; He has given us a standard and instructions as to how to achieve that ideal in the Bible. And part of that standard is to be at peace.

Throughout the Bible, we are admonished to be people of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 says:

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

And Psalm 34:14 says, Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it, which is very similar to what we read in First Peter 3:10-11.

The reason both the old and the new testaments tell us to pursue peace is that it is a universal principle. There are spiritual principles that were peculiar to the Old Covenant; they began and ended there. There are some that are unique to the New Covenant; they begin and stay there. Then there are others that have universal application, which can be found throughout the Bible. They have and will always be in operation. Peace is one of them.

So you see, having peace – not being quarrelsome – is what God has in mind for us. But just because we are not supposed to be the aggressor, does not mean that we are supposed to be passive. We are to endeavor to be in the bond of peace.

The ball is in our court.
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