Thursday, June 09, 2011

Are You a Peacemaker?

“A much neglected aspect of the mission of Jesus according to Luke is that of peace-making, of nonviolent resistance to evil, of the futility and self-destructive nature of hatred and vengeance.”  (Transforming Mission by David J. Bosch - Page 118)

“God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of God”.
 (Matthew 5:9 - New Living Translation)

Those who work for peace are people who accurately reflect the character and nature of God.  Being a peacemaker is restoring “Shalom”.  It is restoring wholeness, completeness, or soundness.

I think there are three possible ways of being: 
1.      I can be a peacekeeper.  Peacekeepers are appeasers.  They just want everyone to get along.  Let’s just keep quiet about anything controversial and let’s just keep everyone happy.  Peacekeepers don’t talk about what they really feel or think.  Peacekeepers protect themselves by not risking. 
(Unfortunately I’ve come to realize that I’ve lived most of my life as a peacekeeper.)
2.      I can be a troublemaker.  Troublemakers demand that things be done their way.  Troublemakers think they are right and everyone else is wrong.  Troublemakers don’t care if people get hurt or what kind of damage they leave behind.  Troublemakers protect themselves and there way by attacking.
3.      I can be a peacemaker.  Peacemakers work to create conditions for peace. 
a.       Peacemakers speak the truth in love.  They “say what is so” for them.  They speak out against injustice and oppression.  (Ephesians 4:15)
b.      Peacemakers forgive and offer grace to others.  Peacekeepers don’t hold grudges, or have deep seated resentments.  (Ephesians 4: 31-320
c.       Peacemakers initiate reconciliation.  Peacemakers don’t wait for someone else or something else.  (Matthew 5:23-24 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
d.      Peacemakers don’t retaliate or seek revenge.  Peacemakers remain calm. (Matthew 5: 38-42)
e.       Peacemakers take action against injustice and oppression.  Sometimes in order to be a peacemaker a person appears to be a troublemaker.  Jesus modeled this when he cleared the temple. (Matthew 10:34)  I think those involved in the civil rights movement modeled this as well.

Peacemakers don’t protect themselves.  They are courageous risk-takers. 

Peacemakers take a stand against “non-peace” and help to restore wholeness.  Some define sin as “shalom” breaking.  Anywhere or anytime wholeness or completeness is broken it is sin.  I think it’s possible to be a really “nice” peacekeeper and to be sinning by allowing brokenness to remain. 

Becoming a peacemaker requires courage, intentionality, & perseverance.  If you decide to become a peacemaker you will have to fight for it in your own life.

“Those how are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of justice/righteousness.”
James 3:18

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