RS Lesson: HWH #2: “My Peace I Give Unto You”
“My Peace I Give unto You”
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter, Chapter 2
From Howard W Hunter
“Peace can come to an individual only by an unconditional surrender—surrender to him who is the Prince of peace, who has the power to confer peace.”
President Hunter spoke often about inner peace, teaching that a person can receive it only by turning to God—by trusting Him, exercising faith, and striving to do His will.
We must “fix our eyes on Jesus” and never “turn away our eyes from him in whom we must believe.”
This lesson offers many opportunities to share stories of: difficult time, seeking for peace, finding peace, understand the Atonement, growing a relationship with the Savior, etc. These stories can come from your own life or from others. The lesson shares a few stories about President Hunter and I like the one about his wife, Claire.
“In late 1975 a doctor recommended brain surgery for President Hunter’s wife, Claire. President Hunter agonized over whether the surgery was in Claire’s best interest, since it would strain her fragile body and might not improve her condition. He went to the temple, counseled with family members, and soon felt that the surgery offered the best hope for giving Claire some relief. Describing his feelings on the day of the operation, he wrote: “I went with her as far as the doors to the operating room, gave her a kiss, and she was taken on through the doors. As time went by, I waited and wondered. … Suddenly the tense anxiety turned into a feeling of peace. I knew the right decision had been made and that my prayers had been answered.”
Some introductory thoughts of Christ: Jesus Christ is our source of true peace.
You can use the examples (which are fleshed out in the manual) that best suit your tack on the lesson.
- The foretelling of the birth of Christ – in Isaiah
- Psalm in the Book of Isaiah (26:3)
- Jesus at the Last Supper with the Twelve
- Examples in the Life of Christ
- Jesus’ salutation and benediction: “My peace I give unto you.”
We can cultivate peace through the gospel and the church.
- The church puts us in places where we interact with many different kinds of people, including people we don’t like. Our service in the church gives us opportunities know and understand others. – and think of others. Jesus taught: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” ( 5:44.)
- When we try to help those who have offended us, when we pray for those who have unrighteous used us, our lives can be beautiful. We can have peace when we come into a unity with the Spirit and with each other as we serve the Lord and keep his commandments.
- The church organization helps people of the world both temporally (Humanitarian Aid) and spiritual (teaching the Gospel). “The world in which we live, whether close to home or far away, needs the gospel of Jesus Christ … We need a more peaceful world, growing out of more peaceful families and neighborhoods and communities.”
- We need to extend the hand of friendship. We need to be kinder, more gentle, more forgiving, and slower to anger.
- The restored gospel of Jesus Christ can be a dynamic, moving influence, and true acceptance gives us a meaningful, religious experience. One of the great strengths of the Mormon religion is this translation of belief into daily thinking and conduct.
“A life filled with unselfish service will also be filled with peace that surpasses understanding.”
“We pray that Satan’s efforts will be thwarted, that personal lives can be peaceful and calm, that families can be close and concerned with every member, that wards and stakes, branches and districts can form the great body of Christ, meeting every need, soothing every hurt, healing every wound until the whole world.”
There are some quotes in this section that seem unnecessarily judgmental, so I would advise you to use good judgment when choosing what to share with your class.
- “There is no promise of peace to those who reject God, to those who will not keep his commandments, or to those who violate his laws.”
- Indifference to the Savior or failure to keep the commandments of God brings about insecurity, inner turmoil, and contention.
- It seems that two eternal truths must be accepted by all if we are to find peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come. (1) That Jesus is the Christ, the very eternal son of our Heavenly Father…. (2) That Joseph Smith was his prophet, raised up in this latter-day to restore the truth … If all men would accept and live these two fundamental truths, peace would be brought to the world.
Finding peace despite the turmoil around us.
Jesus was not spared grief and pain and anguish and buffeting. No tongue can speak the unutterable burden he carried, nor have we the wisdom to understand the prophet Isaiah’s description of him as “a man of sorrows.” (Isa. 53:3.)
We will also have opposition.
“May it so be with us—in our own hearts, in our own homes, in our nations of the world, and even in the buffetings faced from time to time by the Church. We should not expect to get through life individually or collectively without some opposition.”
Opposition may be internal or external.
Opposition will be in the world.
But we find peace in Christ.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth. …” (John 14:27.)
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:28–29.)
“… in the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.)
The knowledge that God lives, that we are his children, and that he loves us soothes the troubled heart. The answer to the quest lies in faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ. This will bring peace to us now and in the eternity to follow.17
The lesson points to the simplicity of Christ: “We need to return to the simplicity of Christ. … We need to study the simple fundamentals of the truths taught by the Master and eliminate the controversial.” But I do not feel that finding Christ or understanding the Atonement are simple things. I believe that it is hard mental and emotional work to understand these concepts and the incorporate them into our lives. I would avoid over simplifying this idea.
Beware of Fear / Build on the Rock of Christ
By fixing our eyes on Jesus, we can triumph over elements that would destroy peace.
The story of Jesus walking on water and Peter following him to walk on water – is a great illustrator at this point in the lesson.
“As Christ’s disciples had set out on one of their frequent journeys across the Sea of Galilee, the night was dark and the elements were strong and contrary. The waves were boisterous and the wind was bold, and these mortal, frail men were frightened. Jesus looked out or his apostles and loved them. In their moment of greatest extremity they looked and saw in the darkness an image in a fluttering robe, walking toward them on the ridges of the sea. And through the storm and darkness to them—as so often to us, when, amid the darknesses of life, the ocean seems so great and our little boats so small—there came the ultimate and reassuring voice of peace with this simple declaration, “It is I; be not afraid.” Peter exclaimed, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” And Christ’s answer to him was the same as to all of us: “Come.”
Peter sprang over the vessel’s side and into the troubled waves, and while his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, all was well. Only when with wavering faith he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the black gulf beneath him, only then did he begin to sink. Again, like most of us, he cried, “Lord, save me.” Jesus stretched out his hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, “O thou of little faith, [why] didst thou doubt?”
At such times when we feel the floods are threatening to drown us and the deep is going to swallow up the tossed vessel of our faith, I pray we may always hear amid the storm and the darkness that sweet utterance of the Savior of the world: “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” (Matt. 14:27.)19
We will all feel conflict and sorrow whether we have our eyes on Jesus or not, but focusing on Christ can give us an anchor. In the presence of Christ, we can feel solid, confident, and peaceful …. Even in difficult times.