Lent - Day 7 A Study of Matthew 5
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
“Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18
Peacemakers are not easily found among men because our natural human tendency is to demand our own way, to fight and quarrel even over the most insignificant and trivial things. I recently saw two babies in an Internet video quarreling over a pacifier. One takes it out of the others mouth only to have it retaken by the other again and again with tears each time from the one losing it. Cute. Right? In babies, yes, but in adults, and particularly those who are in the body of Christ, not so much... In fact, it is sorely dishonoring to God.
Peacemakers, deal with offences differently than others. They don’t let it get to them. They are more ready to forgive than to win the argument or get back at the offender. Peacemakers employ every option at their disposal to end the argument and find a place of peace for where the aggression will end. At least to the extent that it is up to them to decide if the matter continues to boil and fester or simply go away.
And this is a commandment from God.
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord…” Hebrews 12:14
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children…” Ephesians 4:29-5:1
Now this is in no way a license to sit idly by and do nothing to defend the weak or to fight for the cause of the oppressed. The evil that men perpetrate on the innocent must be met with a strong and decisive opposing force to oppose them and remove them and their deeds from further harm and danger to others. Sometimes peace can only come when evil is completely removed from its place of death and destruction, even by force of arms.
But, where we have the choice to either demand our own way or to give way to the one who opposes us in order to have peace between us, then we re compelled by the Spirit of God to choose peace.
“If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
Carrying grudges or unforgiveness only feeds strife and division among the body of believers. The way to end all strife, the motivation to “let it go,” is to remember one vitally important thing as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who depend on Him alone for their salvation. God loves us!
Think about how much you are loved and accepted in the family of Heaven, into God’s own intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, how valuable and highly placed you are in the order of all creation and what a precious price was paid to put your there. Then ask yourself, how important is this present offense in light of all that Jesus has done to forgive me and make me His treasure?
We are loved. Therefore, we can extend that same measure of love to everyone, including those who offend us. When we were such a vile offense to God, Jesus loved us and laid down His life for us. He made peace with God on our behalf. Now, we are peacemakers because His life is in us prompting that same expression of love through us to others.
The peacemakers are blessed because they know how much they are loved as sons of God.
On a similar note, there are times when we can be disappointed by the comments of someone that surprises us and seems to diminish the value of the things we value most. In a moment of emotion we feel offended by their opinion and personally assaulted (verbally) by what we feel is their criticism of us personally. So, we begin to meditate on ways to vent our negative emotion to someone unrelated to the situation who will stroke our “righteous indignation” and affirm the nobleness of our position on the matter. That might feel good for a moment, but if we are not careful it can also develop into some hyper magnified anger over something that was originally trivial and benign.
At best in these moments we stop short of wanting to inflict some reprisal on the one who offended us, or at worst we hope something bad will happen to them to show them how right we are and how wrong they are. This is the very center of the ways the devil seeks to bring strife and division among believers, friends and family. This is the very insidious technique of our adversary to rob us of our peace and use us to act against love and for evil.
Our first defense against his tactics is to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Then we are to consider the motive of the one speaking to us. If you love someone you don’t presume them to be intentionally offensive, but we extend to them the confidence of love that says they would never seek to hurt me deliberately.
We all can offend others unwittingly. That’s just a factor of our broken humanity. When we do offend, and are made aware of it, it is our responsibility to quickly seek forgiveness. When we are offended by a brother or sister in Christ especially we should examine our heart’s response with the question, Is there offense a matter of how I’m receiving it or of their heart’s intent? Being always ready to forgive rather than to hold onto grievances.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
Peacemakers are always looking for ways to bring peace out of every conflict, great or small, by whatever means necessary without compromising their fundamental commitment to the truth of the Word of God.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:17-18