The Path of Peace

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9, NIV)  Do you know peace, live in peace, and bring peace?

In the late 19th century the Colt Arms company issued a revolver that came to be called ‘the Peacemaker.’ The .45 caliber handgun packed a deadly punch and could be accurate to 100 yards. It was the favorite of Old West sheriffs as well as the US Cavalry. Strange, isn’t it, that a deadly weapon was associated with ‘peace’?  But overwhelming force is often the route taken to create public order, to quell dissent, and to make ‘the peace.’  During the Cold War there was an aptly named policy that created a standoff between nuclear powers. It was called “M.A.D,” Mutual Assured Destruction. The Americans and Soviets would not opt to use a nuke knowing the response would wipe out much of the world.

Christian, we are called to be peacemakers but in an entirely different manner than the natural world. We do not use guns and bombs, or threats of destruction, we follow the Way of Jesus who brought us peace. How did He do it? With sacrificial love, offering Himself to bear the sins of others!  He broke down the old way that taught reciprocity – eye for eye, tooth for tooth – and told us to forgive radically, to build bridges not walls.

How can we be peacemakers in this world?

Remember Who you are ultimately serving!

Jesus said “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40, NIV) When reach out to someone we do not understand or who is reviled, we create a connection.  Jesus said that even simple acts of kindness that are done in His Name are, in truth, a way of serving Him.  Because He sees deep into our hearts, He knows exactly why we did what we did and never misunderstands or forgets. This sobering fact has often encouraged me to do good.

One night many years ago a man I had loved and trusted leveled harsh charges against me he honestly believed to be true. He saw only a part of what was going on, his judgment was clouded by other associations and his own past hurts. The wounds of his words went deep. After meeting concluded, I walked behind the church building, alone in the darkness, with tears streaming down my face.

A chaotic storm of sorrow and anger blew through my mind. My first response was to think – “how can neutralize him, cut him off at the knees?”  There was also a temptation to just walk away, to quit on my calling. But, the Spirit clearly said, “What does the Lord know about this situation? Has He released you from your calling?”  He knew all about me! The Word says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)  Holding onto that truth, I was able to pursue forgiveness and reconciliation. It was not simple, nor was it easy!  Bridges were rebuilt with grace.

We must not return firewhen others fire on us.

Now, that’s a tough call, isn’t it? I admit it’s easier to write about it than to live it. Our Savior is our example. Peter tells us “If you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God. This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. … He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right.” (1 Peter 2:20-23, The Message) When we are misjudged in motives, often the best defense is silence.

We actively seek the good of those who seek our harm.  

We are not just passive in the face of those who oppose us. Going beyond mere non-response supernaturally we move to bless them, Jesus taught. His counsel is that we “Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke 6:28, NLT)

All of this rests on the secure foundation of the Lord’s love for us and His keen insight. When your soul is battered, your heart is broken, your mind cries out for vindication – go to Jesus –  in prayer, quiet, waiting; sometimes crying, prayer! He knows the Truth and even if all Hell accuses, He alone justifies. Oh, blessed thought.

The curious truth, my friend, is that active peacemaking is a true pathway to happiness, one that frees us from old grudges, lets us hope for the best in others, and live in peace with ourselves. How about it?  Will you take Jesus’ wisdom to heart? “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God

Here’s a word from the Word. Make it your prayerful meditation today.

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, 
On those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;  
He is our help and our shield.

For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,  
Just as we hope in You.”   Amen   
(Psalm 33:18-23, NKJV

(Video of this blog at this link)

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Prayer Of St. Francis

Lord make me an instrument of Your peace
Lord make me an instrument of Your peace
Of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury pardon
Where there is doubt let me sow faith
Lord make me an instrument of Your peace

Lord make me an instrument of Your peace
Of Your peace
Where there’s despair let me sow hope
Where there is darkness light
Where there is sadness let me sow joy
Lord make me an instrument of Your peace
An instrument of Your peace

Lord grant that I not seek so much to be consoled
As to console
Nor to be understood as much as to understand
Oh Lord oh Lord my Lord
Lord grant that I not seek so much to be loved
As to love
For it is by giving that we receive
It is by pardoning that we are pardoned
It is by dying that we are born
To eternal life
Lord make me an instrument of Your peace
An instrument of Your peace

St. Francis of Assisi

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