Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
See also Blessed are the Peacemakers – Part 1
Yesterday I opened up this topic of peacemakers because in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
So what exactly is a peacemaker? It’s someone who strives to make peace. Peace is something that won’t happen automatically; it must be actively made because it will never happen by chance. Someone has put it this way: “Hatred looks for a victim. The man of war throws stones and the peacemaker builds a bridge out of those stones”. Now I think that’s an excellent definition of what a peacemaker does.
I would take it one step further and say we can never be true peacemakers in our world until we have made our peace with God. Real peace is impossible to make without the help of Almighty God. You can’t spread peace if you’re at war inside, and the only way to have inner peace is to make your peace with God through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. It is God’s will that we live in a peaceful world for he is a God of peace, not conflict. It was Hadden Robinson who said, “No peace will exist between nations until peace reigns in each country. And no country will have peace until peace dwells with the people. And no people will have peace until they surrender to the Prince of Peace”.
We Can Make Peace by Knowing the Author of Peace
And here is the key to all this. When we know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we have peace because we know the Prince of Peace for ourselves, Jesus as a personal Saviour living in our hearts. Nothing can ever take his place. If you know the peace of God in your life you can truly be a peacemaker, because you know the author of peace. We can’t be true peacemakers in our own strength or ingenuity. But what happens in life when you face a conflict of some kind, and it’s obvious that there is no peace. And it can happen very quickly. Jesus said, “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
In other words Jesus says, “take the initiative, make the first move”. Plan a face-to-face meeting, because the best way to resolve a problem with someone is face-to-face. It may not be easy, but it’s the best way. That’s why Paul said in Philippians 2:4, “Look out for each other’s interests, not just for your own”. Does this mean that my feelings and interests are unimportant? No, not at all. It means we should first try to understand and then to be understood. That’s good advice, because to make peace happen we have to try and see the other person’s point of view.
Think Before You Speak
When there is conflict, concentrate on the problem, not the person. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. In other words, engage your mind before you engage your mouth in anger. What about this matter of cooperation? Do as much as you can to get on with people, especially those who are difficult to get on with. Build a bridge to that person and cooperate with them as far as possible without sacrificing your own convictions.
Another lovely word here is ‘reconciliation’. To reconcile means to make an effort to repair and re-establish a broken relationship. Martin Luther King Jr was a great example of non-violent confrontation in the 1960s in times of racial riots. He believed nothing good ever came out of violence. He took as his example Jesus who did not retaliate when provoked.
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If we take seriously the words of Jesus about being active peacemakers, two things happen. We will be happy and satisfied because we are at peace ourselves. We know the author of peace. Only true peacemakers experience true happiness. Plus the good news that we are sons and daughters of God. When we help to bring people together who are far away from God, we are his children. Jesus said so in his Sermon on the Mount. Life here on earth is not perfect and there will always be some issue or difference of opinion. But with his help we can deal truthfully with each other in a spirit of love and reconciliation.
(Source – Redland Baptist Church, US)