Sunday, January 18, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 8)

God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.”
— Matthew 5:9 (NLT)
Peacemakers always make way for peace, in achieving what needs to be achieved. They know that keeping the peace – respecting everyone’s viewpoints and biases – is an essential part of abiding by the reality that, whilst we are similar, we are all incredibly different!
I know a class of human being that doesn’t get the idea of the peacemaker. They insist their brash and crash way is what is often, even sometimes, required.
That’s not what Jesus appears to be saying.
We don’t have an out. Jesus appears to be saying that the truth is, God blesses those who work for peace. The peacemaker is blessed because they work harmoniously and to maintain harmony.
There is no option if we wish to be Christian; being a peacemaker – loving one another – is Jesus’ mandate... if we wish to be called children of God.
There is a lot of First John about this Beatitude. There is a direct correlation between peace-making and being a true believer. First John puts it like that, in no-nonsense terms.
We cannot say we are Christian and not love peace, and not work for it.
Peace, as it occurs in relationships, when it’s needed (in conflict), is the test of love. If we do not desire peace at all costs we have fallen short of love.
So, the peacemaker is really a purveyor of love. And the child of God is known by their love. It’s an incongruence that a Christian goes on refusing to love where there’s conflict. Those insisting they have no responsibility to others (and particularly other Christians) to reconcile will not be called children of God.
Being a peacemaker is in some ways hard, but it’s easy from the viewpoint of the blessings received. What makes it hard is it takes a great deal of humility, and, for the competitive among us, peacemaking does not come naturally.
1.     What role does pride and fear play in limiting believer’s ability to reconcile with others? Or is it a problem with self-righteousness or the inability to see the whole truth?
2.     What are the qualities of the peacemaker? Which of these qualities is admirable and which is less desirable?
3.     Think about the connection between peace and love – those who love peace make peace through love. How might we come closer to these two: to advance peace by being more loving or vice versa?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.

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