Remember to honor the peacemakers
Of all the nine beatitudes listed by Jesus in the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, verse nine requires more than a quick glance for it to harmonize with other Biblical teachings. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Most certainly, it does not mean that Christians should always be impassive and silent regarding everything others do, say, or believe for the sake of peaceful relationships. Jesus always commended righteousness but he never hesitated to specifically rebuke and confront hypocrisy and falsehood. Still, it is a sad reality that there are too many people who are convinced they have the special responsibility to pursue every opportunity to be critical, quarrelsome, and divisive.
Peacemakers have a spirit of gentleness and love of harmony in human relations. They endeavor to live peacefully with their neighbors and are convinced that individual interests are best served by promoting reconciliation among people, instead of fueling the fires of strife. and contention. They have also learned the benefits of using gracious words in their communications and gain for themselves a reputation of graciousness and kindness that is almost entirely absent in private or public discourse these days. We all need to remember the forgotten adage that, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov. 15:1)
Contentiousness is extremely negative and counterproductive. It wastes time and energy that could be used in more productive activity. It divides people, communities, and nations. On the other hand, peace restores people to a state of unity and harmony, bringing them together for their common good and greater productivity, contentment and happiness. The Bible, teaches us that all men, are deeply suspicious of each other and, by nature, in a state of hostility toward God. 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 his followers “peace-makers” or, “the children of God.” This begs the question of whom are the children that consistently foment divisions on every occasion and in every area of society? They most certainly are not the children of the “God of peace”. They are children of the devil who is the author, not of peace, but of evil, perpetual discord, and contentiousness.
If we yearn for peace and goodwill on earth, the starting point is that we individually seek peace and reconciliation with God our Creator. The Bible is the story of the love of God for the world and for every individual person living in the world. He has provided us a peace proposal that costs us nothing but a purposeful and conscious belief and trust in His promise. The proposal is simply and plainly recorded by the apostle John in the Gospel narrative written by him. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. That whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”. (John 3:16)
Pastor Gene Holman of Living Word Fellowship in Gardnerville is a member of Carson Valley Ministers’ Association