I originally posted the words that follow in 2011. I’ve updated this post to take out some of the references from five years ago and bring it into today. I haven’t had to change anything else in the post. After the attacks in Nice, France, it seems even more appropriate today.
t’s time for peace.
Yeah, I know I’m being an idealist who believes that it is still possible for people to work together for a common goal. I still believe it is completely possibly to transform this world.
And over the past few days, I’ve witnessed a lot of things that show we are not at peace.
- Shootings have dominated the headlines. Every death is a tragedy. And they are daily reminders that the level of violence in our world is too high.
- Every tragedy is followed by the political rhertoric. Politicans blame incidents on the other party. Some attempt to capitalize on the tragedy for political gain. And, we are left to ask, “How does that actually help?”
- Interviewees on 24-hour news networks argue over statistics and minutia. Again, we ask, “How does this help?”
- There are acts of violence at Courthouses and town squares. Rhetoric becomes heated and threats follow. And, we ask, “How does this actually help?
- And the world looks and watches and, maybe, even asks where is the church?
- Where are our peacemakers?
In Matthew 5, Jesus delivers one of his most famous sermons called the Sermon on the Mount. In the list of the “blessed are…” statements, Jesus addresses peace and peacemakers:
Matthew 5:9 reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Children of God.”
“Peacemaker” is an interesting word. It’s found just one time in scripture, here in this verse. A simple definition of it reads, “one who makes peace” or “one who loves peace.”
So, maybe to understand this word, we have to start to look at what “peace” actually means. Peace is about harmony in relationships and it comes on many, many levels.
- Having peace with God means that we are on the same page, we recognize God as God, Jesus as Lord. The Holy Spirit is in us and working through us.
- We have peace with others. It means relationships are strong and loving. And that in our love for others, we can have civil disagreements over positions. Yet, even in those disagreements, we still realize that the other person is a child of God and loved just as much by God as we are.
- There’s peace in a nation. It’s the peace that brings an absence of violence and conflict and war. Right now, we have elevated rhetoric and hurtful words over things that don’t require that type of language. Heated and vigourous debate is one thing. Threatening lives, saying words that lead to acts of violence and, in general, attempting to destroy the character of another person because of a political disagreement is completely unacceptable.
As a father, I wonder about the rate that this world is spiralling out of control and what it will be like for my children when they have families of their own. And, I also have to realize that the people I disagree with, even strongly, are mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, children, friends and most importantly, children of God.
If we aren’t willing to be the peacemakers in this world, then who’s going to step up to do it for us?
Do we condone the rhetoric when we keep our silence?
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God.
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