“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
As a kid, I was punished fairly often for “having to have the last word.” As a teenager, I was often told I would make a great attorney because I was so good at arguing my case. My desire to be right and convince others of my position has negatively impacted my relationships over the years. My husband used to say: “I am sorry ‘but’ is not an apology.” He has not had to say that in a while. I must be growing. This is one of a number of attributes Jesus has been weeding out of me over the past 25 years.
Today is Friday, December 12th, 2020. As I write this, Michigan is in a partial shutdown to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We just experienced an election that has polarized our country in ways I have never experienced and there is tremendous social unrest. The Second Amendment has been hijacked as people use free speech to express their opinions cruelly and without respect for others. In our anger, frustration, and discouragement we have become self-centered and self-indulgent. If ever there was a need for peacemakers, it is now.
As I studied the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, I realized that the Beatitudes are not merely a “to do” list to check off. The Beatitudes describe an attitude or way of life; in other words, who you are not what you do. As I read, I was struck by how challenging it would be to uphold such standards. I imagine the Jewish people viewed the Ten Commandments much the same way – impossible to accomplish. Was Jesus dangling an unachievable carrot in front of them, offering a blessing to a select group? If Jesus’ promises were limited to the Beatitudes, we would be overwhelmed with defeat. However, Jesus gives us another promise to cling to in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Jesus does not leave us to ourselves. He makes a way.
The question then is how are we to be peacemakers in this broken, angry world? Matthew 5:9 teaches us that there is a direct correlation between being a peacemaker and a son or daughter of God. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Left to ourselves we are driven by our old sinful, rebellious nature; led by our own will and desires. However, when we choose Christ to be the Lord of our lives, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We take on God’s own nature through Jesus and are then free to pursue His will and desires. We make others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Warren Wiersbe says that when we live for Him, “We become peacemakers in a troubled world and channels for God’s mercy, purity, and peace.” It is only through Jesus that we are able to be the peace we are called to be. He is the way!
Inner peace begins with surrendering your life to him. Isaiah tells us how to keep this peace throughout our walk. In Isaiah 26:3, we read, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Believer, what consumes your mind? Is it the number of COVID cases reported yesterday or maybe the debate on wearing a mask? In what or who do you place your trust? Is it an election? Choose to consume your mind with the Word of God and trust in the certainty of His promises. As you do, God will transform your heart, your desires, and your attitude. You will become a peacemaker!
I discovered a new Christmas song that speaks to this very topic. The song is entitled “Here to Stay” by Hannah Kerr. The chorus is beautiful
“The baby in the stable
Is the only one who’s able
To bring comfort and peace
That’s never gonna leave.
There is hope for every season
And Jesus is the reason
Love came down on Christmas Day
Now my hope is here to stay.”
May we be the peace!