Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Making Peace in a World of Strife

Matt. 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

When Jesus was giving this Sermon, did He mean to say that we should be at peace no matter the cost? As Jesus walked this earth was He always at peace? Since He is our perfect example, should we not follow His lead? He told the disciples that He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Can He expect us to be both at the same time?

It seems He was at peace with everyone who was not a "religious" person, or one of Satan's minions. He was at peace with the tax collectors and sinners, but not with the Pharisees. He was at peace with the widows and orphans, but not with the money changers.

So what does a peacemaker look like? If we are to love and irritate others to love and good deeds, how can we be a peacemaker and still do that? Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Maybe it is as much about attitude as anything else. I know that I am a sinner and I have a lot to work on myself. Were it not for grace, any falling short of God's standard is totally possible for me at any given time. Without many counselors I can fall just as quickly as the person next to me. Without the Holy Spirit convicting me and giving me a desire for The Word I would be lost in sin.

BUT, God still wants us to do and say hard things. Will there be peace if I just sweep everything under the rug? If we just ignore what is going on around us will that make it better? If someone is dieing in their sin and I don't say something will that bring them peace? Near term peace is not peace at all.

Our desire has to be to see others complete in Christ. That may require us to say something that is uncomfortable, or even very hard. They may not take it right today. They may get angry and say all sorts of evil things against us falsely. They may try to throw it back on us and blame us for their problem. But their response is NOT our issue. We are to try to be gracious in our approach, but not to the point of silence.

In the most winsome way possible we are to encourage one another to love and good deeds. We are to seek the counsel of those God has put in authority over us; whether at work, church or in government. God has the authority in place for our safety and guidance, we should listen to those people. But at times we may have to love and irritate even those in authority over us to good deeds. How loving is it if we don't say something?

As my kids get older it is interesting that they now can have input in the discussion that is very insightful. They know their parents pretty well, strengths and weaknesses, and when my kids tell me where I am falling short, it is not necessarily easy to hear, but sweet to know they are getting it and that they love me enough to want to see me complete in Christ. If I don't listen to them, and act mad that they would say such a thing to their dad, who is the fool there?

This is, again, where I think the attitude is so important. If we come without humility and love, the process gets messed up. If we come trying to win a brother and hoping to see them complete in Christ, then God will take care of the rest; maybe not today or tomorrow, but He will eventually make all things right.

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