“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God” Matt 5:9.
Most of the time when we think of “peace” our thoughts immediately go to world peace. There is so many news stories about fighting and killing in countries around the world, and here at home, that just thinking of “PEACE” hurts. We feel so helpless to be a peacemaker. We feel to small and insignificant to be a peacemaker. If we have any heart for people beyond ourselves and our families, than it hurts to see, read about, and think of the savagery which seems to run rampant in our world.
But maybe, just maybe, Jesus was intending these words to focus much less on world peace, and more on peace close to us, individually. For example, peace within ourselves, peace within our families, peace with our friends, peace with our co-workers, and peace with our neighbors. Think about it with me for a moment.
- This type of peace is something we can do something about.
- If we could begin to live in peace within our self, our family, our friends, our work environment, and our neighborhoods, others might learn to do the same.
- If we taught our children the same and they taught theirs….
- As the families grow and spread out, into new place, new work environments, new neighbors, new friends, more family, peace grows.
- And as it grows, the results could really change the world.
- It all starts with us, with our own homes, families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.
This is what Jesus meant, and it becomes a reality in our lives as we grow in god-likeness, starting with realizing we need Christ in our life, cry out and confess falling away from, or never seeking God, humbly accepting change and giving our lives to Jesus, hungrily seeking to live and serve in a Christ-like manner, seeing others as God sees them, and serving and giving to others without seeking anything in return. And all of this is what Jesus was teaching at the beginning of his very first teaching of his ministry.
You know Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” Matt 5:17. Note, this statement is found in Matthew 5:17, the Beatitudes, which I have been pondering with you over the last several blog posts, are found in Matthew 4:3-10.
Keeping that in mind, let me mention the laws of the Old Testament that Jesus was referring to. There are the 10 Commandments, which I previously mentioned match this series of Beatitude statements. There are also a great many small, and in modern eyes, seemingly irrelevant laws, especially found in the book of Leviticus. May I boldly tell you that not one of them is insignificant for us today, or irrelevant. I’m not kidding.
Let me explain. God, in his great love for people, provided them with directions on what to do and not to do in order to live safely, free of illness and disease, and in harmony with each other. Yes, some of those directions such as foods we should not eat, are no longer applicable to our lives due to the progress in processing foods, and the prevention taken against contamination. What is applicable, however, is that we note what is important in these directions is not that God was burying his people in rules and laws, but rather that he was setting up guidelines that would enable them to:
- stay faithful to Him as the only true God
- turn to Him in times of need
- seek His protection and help in the battles they faced
- seek His strength when they were facing overwhelming obstacles
- live in peace with themselves and their neighbors
- know how to peacefully resolve disputes
- know how to protect themselves from diseases
- and much, much more
God wanted His people to live in harmony, and he explained exactly how that could be accomplished. We should be slower to scoff at this, and more careful to consider the details of life that our God is willing to be involved in. There is nothing too small that he would not help with, if (and this is a big IF) we would only let Him.
Maybe it would be good to stop and think about how we can become peacemakers. It just might start with turning to God and asking for His help. With His help we can keep create and keep peace in our families, even settle disputes and disagreements in a way that keeps peace. With His help we can create and keep peace with our co-workers, our neighbors, and our friends, even settle disputes and disagreements in a way that keeps peace.
Peace can prevail, but only when the people who are called by His name, decide to be peacemakers, with His help.