Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Being a peacemaker

Matthew 5:9
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."

As in all the other beatitudes, this one gives us a glimpse into an attribute which we would readily think belongs to God. Part of that is true, God is a God of peace and a peaceful lifestyle is what he desires for us. But the attribute doesn't belong solely to God.  Jesus lets us know in this short verse, being a peacemaker is directly related to being called the children of God. 

Not only do we see peace as the desire of God for his people, the verse uses the word "peacemaker" to instill in us that a vital part of our Christian experience is for us to be makers of peace.  We can examine some of the relationships we have with those in the church, and reveal we have often been guilty of being less than peaceable. 

Everything from those minor disagreements to the all-out church fights give the Lord's people a black eye that is witnessed by even those on the outside of the church. Jesus says, "You need to be makers of peace."  Pause for a moment and ask yourself what that means to you. I can tell you what it should mean, namely it means you should be recognizable in your speech and actions as a child of God. Even when we come to believe that, just as in our study of the other beatitudes, we see that sin prevents us from being peacemakers. Human nature and being occupants of the flesh often keep us from being known as God's children.

In this beatitude, we do have another reference from Jesus that will give us a glimpse into the matter of being peacemakers. Look at Matthew 5: 43-45, "You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Notice especially verse 45, " . . . so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."  It carries the same meaning and purpose for being sons of the Father as we see in the beatitude.  Jesus is giving us the example of being a peacemaker and that is one who shows love to his enemies, and he even prays for those who persecute. 

That is a huge order for some of us to fill.  If we manifest the spirit of always having our way, we become less and less the peacemaker. If we think only of self, we are not a peacemaker. If we thrive on animosity, we are not being a peacemaker. Jesus wants you to know through this beatitude, a peacemaker is a bridge builder to others. Paul says in Romans 12, "If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all."  Being a peacemaker, according to Jesus, is that which identifies us as a child of God. 


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