One of my favorite movies is Miss Congeniality starring Sandra Bullock as the clumsy undercover FBI agent posing as Miss USA beauty pageant contestant, Gracie Hart. When it gets to the question and answer segment, the question asked of each contestant is, “What is the one most important thing our society needs?”
The four contestants prior to Gracie answer, as expected, “World Peace.” One even says, “That’s easy. World Peace.”
Gracie, of course, as an FBI agent, honestly responds, “Harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan.”
When her response is met with an incredibly long and loud silence, she amends her answer by saying, “and world peace.” To which the crowd erupts in cheers.
The answer of “world peace” to such situational questions has become a standing joke. Why? Because it is not easy. And not at all feasible until Christ returns, the world is judged, and He sets up His new kingdom.
That is why I Thessalonians 5:3 says, “For when they say ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a woman.” No one, besides Christ, can offer true and lasting peace and safety. To believe differently is to be sucked into a lie, just as this verse states: Right when the world thinks they have achieved peace at the hand of the antichrist, the tables will turn, and distress, devastation, and destruction will ensue.
Though we are all to pursue peace, as Paul exhorts in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” in this fallen world, perfect world peace will never be achieved.
As we enter the new year, I think we should heed Paul’s exhortation and “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” We should work as hard as possible to live peacefully. But we must also be aware that the world, using the world’s playbook, can never guarantee it.
Despite this dim international forecast, each of us can have individual peace, for as Isaiah reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” ( Isaiah 26:3).