“They should shun evil and do good; seek peace and chase after it.” — 1 Peter 3:11
I have discovered that there are two kinds of passengers in the world: the ones who find joy in the ride and the ones who cannot wait to be there. When he was little, my son fell into the latter category. He could ride like a champ but got bored easily, which led to thousands of hours of “I Spy” between the front and back seats of my car.
Until one hot sticky afternoon when we were leaving a parade. I was exhausted from searching for a parking spot, lugging all our spectator gear to the route, and packing it all back after hours under the blazing summer sun to drag it back to the car with a three year old in tow. Out of snacks and trapped in miles of traffic moving at a snail’s pace I did not have a round of “I Spy” in me when the request came in from the backseat.
In a moment of desperation, I had a genius mom moment that still lives in infamy in our family. On that hot day I invented what would become “The Yellow Car Game”. I knew there were plenty of cars for him to look at in the traffic, he would be focused on searching them all, but I didn’t see a yellow car anywhere. It was the perfect challenge to keep him busy and rest my mind for a few minutes. He only found one yellow car that day and it took him 30 minutes – because they aren’t that prevalent.
Stop for a minute and think, When was the last time you saw a yellow car?
This immediately replaced “I Spy” as out go-to car game. It was hard at first, until we really started looking closely at the world around us. We had to survey parking lots we passed, drive-thru lines, and car lots to find them. We couldn’t just wait for one to pass us on the highway like so many other colors. We had to seek these out.
Eventually, a ten minute trip across town could uncover two or three yellow cars. We could find upwards of ten to fifteen in the span of a day of errands (never the same car twice is the rule). Either everyone suddenly started to buy yellow cars or they had been there all along but we just hadn’t seen them because we weren’t looking for them. I’m going with the second option.
If you seek it, you will find it.
Peter would have been good at the yellow car game. Peter knew the importance of seeking things and shared that in his letter to God’s people scattered throughout the world. Times are hard, people are struggling, many are suffering, but Peter reminds them they can still find peace if they seek and chase it.
Obviously, all of their sufferings won’t be cleared away in a matter of days just for looking for peace but it is a clear reminder that even within hard times goodness is present. It may require difficult searching, like moving stuff in the front of the fridge to see what’s in the back, but it is not impossible. It needs to be actively sought or created but the choice to be a good person, search for peace, and strive for it is always available.
For those receiving Peter’s words years ago, it likely referred to living good lives in whatever land they found themselves in. They should find ways to live harmoniously wherever they were and actively live as good citizens. Avoiding evil deeds, seeking peaceful living, and making it their goal is what God wanted from them (it applies to us too…).
For us, these words have far more power and application than we likely realize.
Shunning evil in life is obvious, but there are many mini-evils we face every day that do not always strike us as such in the moment. How many times are we faced with opportunities to spread gossip, judge others’ actions, tarnish a reputation, speak harshly, flip the bird in traffic, or many other things in a day?
When we slip up and do these things, and we will slip up – we are only human, we diminish the peace around us. We create hurt feelings, anger, conflict, and spread discontent around us.
If we change our mindset to look for the good in people and situations, we will find it. When we are faced with frustration and respond with healthy conversation, we will uncover more peace. Small steps in our every day can lead us to more happiness and peace by just adjusting our focus.
Gossip stops with you.
Accept others as they are, not as you want them to be.
Meet anger with conversation.
Smile and wave instead of rant and rave.
Be patient, life isn’t a timed contest.
Find peace everyday.
The harder you look, the more you will find.
And keep an eye out for yellow cars. You’ll see them far more often than you expect. Remember those finds when goodness and peace seem out of reach, they’re out there too.