Reflections on the Word: Be a peacemaker
February 19, 2017
One of the greatest sermons Jesus preached is recorded in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew verses 3-11. It is called the Beatitudes.
"The exact opposite of the virtues listed in the Beatitudes taught by Jesus are precisely the moral deficiencies and character flaws that most distinguish human life and conduct" wrote the well-known Christian author A.W. Tozer.
In this period of intense social division and public protests and riots in our big cities, I am reminded of verse nine in the Beatitudes. "Blessed are the peacemakers: For they shall be called the children of God." It is a sad reality that we find so few people interested in the role of peacemakers and too many determined to pursue any opportunity to be critical, quarrelsome and divisive.
Peacemakers are people who have a spirit of gentleness and a love for harmony in human relations. They endeavor to live in peace with their neighbors and are persuaded that individual interests are best served by promoting reconciliation among all people instead of fueling the fires of strife. discord and contention. They use gracious words in their communications, knowing that "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Prov. 15:1)
Contention and strife are counterproductive and waste time and energy that could be used in more positive and productive activity. It divides individuals, communities and nations and promotes destructive conduct. On the other hand, peace restores people to a state of unity and harmony, bringing them together for a common good, loftier purposes and greater happiness
The Bible declares that all men, by nature, are in a state of hostility toward God and deeply suspicious of each other. The Gospel is called "the Gospel of peace" because its primary goal is to reconcile men to God and to one another. Consequently, Jesus calls peacemakers "the children of God." And, since this is so, then whose children are they who foment divisions in society, in their community, and even in the church? They most certainly are not the children of the "God of peace." They are children of the devil who is the Prince, not of peace, but of discord, rebellion and lawlessness.
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If we long for peace and goodwill on earth, the starting point is our individual peace with our Maker. In His great love for the world God provided man with a peace proposal that is infinitely satisfactory on His part and, if purposely and consciously appropriated, is equally satisfying on man's part. This proposal is centered in Jesus Christ. For, just as many have given their lives for the security and peace of the nation, Jesus gave His life on a Roman cross that all men might have peace and acceptance with God.
St. Paul, the great apostle of the Gospel of Peace, writes these meaningful words in his epistle to the Corinthians; "… God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." 2 Cor 5:18-19.
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers' Association
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