Blessed are the peacemakers
The Republican and the Democratic parties recently completed their conventions nominating their candidate for president of the U.S. From the speeches you would think that the candidate who wins will single-handedly save our country from utter chaos while the other candidate, if elected, will totally destroy our nation and our way of life.
While the parties were meeting, our nation experienced unprecedented calamities caused by fires in California and hurricanes on the Gulf coast, all further complicated by the continuing tragedy of COVID-19 claiming more than 185,000 lives. There was also another incident of a Black man shot by a police officer followed by marches and protests that at times escalated to looting and rioting. Professional sports around the country joined in the protest in an attempt to raise our awareness.
So, while our country is reeling from natural disasters, a pandemic and continued racial strife, our political parties are making outrageous promises and placing the blame on anyone besides themselves.
“How is that attitude working out so far?”
Not so good. None of this seems particularly helpful or beneficial for the long-term health of our country and our world. Somehow, some way we have to find a way to talk to each other and work together.
We desperately need leaders who are peacemakers.
What do I mean by peacemaker? Answer – someone who inspires reconciliation between people or groups. The Bible says this about peacemakers, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace.” (Romans 14:19)
I do not want to be a complainer. I want to be a peacemaker, but to be a peacemaker, I must first be at peace.
“A person who is filled with turmoil will inject that into relationships and situations. A person who is filled with peace will diffuse peace into relationships and situations. To be a peacemaker, you have to be peaceful.” — Cheri Fuller
In Matthew 5, Jesus blesses those who are peacemakers. Peacemakers set aside pride and risk rejection or ridicule. Peacemaking is not about keeping things on an even keel; it is more like going out of your way to enable others to find common ground and a larger purpose.
To be a peacemaker, I must first be at peace. Then, as a leader, I should be willing to take initiative. Peace always sounded like a weak or wimpy word; like caving in or giving up. But peacemaking as defined by scripture is an action word challenging us to be proactive. As peacemakers we have the opportunity to mediate conflicts and model respect in the midst of hatred and bigotry.
Peace comes from the inside and spreads out to others. But there is a cost to being a peacemaker. Peace can cost your pride. It can cost your reputation. It cost Jesus his life. But the promise is that peacemakers will live in a state of blessedness.
“Peace is not when everyone agrees. It is when we can respect our disagreements and still play in the sandbox together.” – unknown
Peacemakers are desperately needed. Our world, our community and even our churches are in a state of chaos and division.
As peacemakers, we can lead our churches in a divided and turbulent environment. Churches should be a sanctuary where people who act and think differently feel safe to discuss, explore and even change. A church is where God provides guidance in the midst of complex and often painful issues. A church is where God provides comfort and grace in the midst of sin and strife.
Peace and tranquility, comfort and grace, sanctuary, they are all words to define God’s church.
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” (Romans 14:19)
I am learning to appreciate the value and importance of being a peacemaker. My calling is to trust in God’s peace as a guide toward becoming a peacemaker. The cost will be high, but the reward is higher.
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” — Francis of Assisi
REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.