Friday, 6 June 2008

What does it mean to be a peacemaker?

A while ago I enthusiastically said I would take a 5 minute slot in our housegroup. We are going to be looking at the Beatitudes (some of the sayings of Jesus in case you were wondering!) and I was asked to look at the one that said: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.'

So here are some of my thoughts. I want to start way back where I believe the problem started. In the beginning God had created a beautiful, awesome, spectacular world and everything was peaceful. The whole of creation would have shone with the peace of God; nothing in it had anything chaotic or awkward about it. Then He made man; and that was fine for a while until Adam and Eve decided to listen to Satan instead of God. The relationship they had was broken; they no longer had peace between them and God, just strife and sin. The good news is we can have a peaceful relationship with God again through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The bible tells us that Jesus is our peace and through Him in repentance (saying sorry for our sins/wrongs) we can have a restored relationship with God.

If we are at peace with God than it will have implications for how we live. The way we are as a person and how we treat others should be radically transformed in that renewed relationship - I will seek at all times to be at peace with all men. How will this look to my family, my church family and the outside world? I will not worry and fret about every little detail of my life. I will not be easily offended by people when they say or do daft things; realising that we are all capable of the same stupidity. By the power of the Holy Spirit and grace of God I have been trying to live with this mindset and it is tremendously liberating. Always looking for hurt and malice in what people do/say is incredibly exhausting and a real peace-stealer.

God is a God of peace and part of the outworking of the Holy Spirit is peace in our hearts and minds. The bible wants me to be a peacemaker. That means that when I leave a place it shouldn't be chaotic and stressful; I shouldn't elicit fear and trembling amongst the people I come in contact with, they shouldn't sigh when they hear I am going to be there etc. I should exude a peace and that is what I should leave in my wake. It isn't an ethereal kind of peace but one that will take hard work. I am to foster my relationship with God through pray, reading the bible and spending time with other Christians. I must seek to live well with everyone and set my mind on peace (this is a proactive thing!) by avoiding foolish talk and gossip. How much peace is there after a real juicy gossip session? Not much. This may mean I have to walk away from some conversations but it is part of being a peacemaker. The bible tells me I must practice true religion; helping widows and orphans. I am to look out for the underdog. And another way of being a peacemaker is to spread the good news of Jesus by good works and words with the mind to telling people about a restored relationship with the God of peace.

In my study I have realised that being a peacemaker isn't an optional extra for the super-spiritual Christian, it is a way of life that God wants for all His followers. Will it mean I am a doormat? No but as long as the truth of the gospel is not compromised or the vulnerable aren't being taken advantage of then I must think peace as I go about my daily tasks. Will it mean some of my pet peeves will have to bite the dust? Almost certainly but setting my mind and heart on being a peacemaker will lead to more joy and happiness.

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