Posted by Dr. Wade Smith on July 27, 2018
Shalom! I hope you are familiar with this Hebrew word. It is often translated as peace, but means much more than the English word can convey. Shalom speaks not just to the absence of conflict or violence, but to wellness or wholeness in all of life and relationships. It speaks to being in right or just relationship with God, with self and with others. Are you experiencing Shalom today?
I believe Jesus referred to Shalom when He answered the Pharisees in Matthew 22:37-39. Jesus proclaimed that the Greatest Commandment is to “love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Shalom begins with God. First, let us never doubt God’s abiding love for us. The Scriptures tell us that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is found in Christ Jesus. Shalom with God, however, is disrupted when someone or something interferes with our whole-hearted love of God. Thus, Shalom is foremost a spiritual matter requiring discernment and understanding in our relationship with God. When our love of God is compromised, we must enter into a season of confession, forgiveness and healing to renew that love and to restore Shalom with God.
While Shalom begins with God, it continues in relationship with self and with others. Jesus declared the second most important commandment is “to love your neighbor as yourself.” When we are in right relationship with God, the possibility of Shalom with others and with self exists.
Shalom is nurtured in healthy community through right relationships with our neighbors, our families, our friends and even our enemies. We work toward Shalom as we identify relationships that are strained or broken. If we lack Shalom with others, we focus on the cause of the tension or brokenness and pursue understanding, grace, forgiveness and the possibility of reconciliation.
Shalom with self means that our heart, soul, mind and body are well and in harmony with each other. When there is “dis-ease” in any of these areas, Shalom suffers and we must purposefully work toward restoring wholeness with self. For example, the attitudes and conditions of our heart and mind are critical in partnering with doctors and medicines in restoring Shalom when our bodies struggle with disease.
God desires Shalom for each of us. Yet, Shalom can be elusive as it involves the intricate and complex layers of relationship with God, others and self.
Again, Shalom begins with God. If there is no Shalom with God, there will be little, if any, Shalom with others or with self. Next, we need others in our quest for Shalom because our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies are always struggling with some type of “dis-ease.” We need others to care for us when our bodies are not well. We need others to bolster our minds when our attitudes are poor. We need others to strengthen our souls when our faith is weak. We need others to nurture our hearts when our emotions are frail. And others need us to do the same.
Shalom is the dynamic interplay of health and wholeness in our relationships with God, others and self. And while we may never fully experience Shalom in this life, we can taste it as we find peace, love and wellness through the seasons and relationships of life.
Therefore, let us pray for and nurture Shalom in one another.
Dr. Wade Smith