Our World Needs Peace
In the movie, Miss Congeniality, starring Sandra Bullock, Sandra plays an uncover cop in a beauty pageant as one of the contestants while trying to keep the young ladies safe from someone that wants to blow them up. It sounds like an action/thriller plot, but if you’ve seen the movie, you know it’s more of a comedy. While the movie does make light of beauty pageants in general, over and over again, the ladies wish for world peace and that’s not a joking matter. Our world needs peace.
Desperately Seeking Peacemakers
Our world today is full of violence and in desperate need of peacemakers. Being a peacemaker does not mean that there is no conflict or that we avoid conflict in our lives. It doesn’t mean that we appease, accommodate, or give in. We don’t look the other way, pretending everything is okay when it isn’t. When Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, He was identifying those who diligently work to bring people to God and to each other. The truth about peace is it can only be found in Christ.
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom and often used as a greeting or departing word that expresses a desire for the other person to experience the full presence, peace, prosperity and blessings of God. It’s a word that implies harmony, wholeness, prosperity, and welfare.
What if we went through life with the true desire for others to experience exactly that? Would the headline news have nothing to report? Would there be less road rage? Less mass murders? Less rapes? Would there be less domestic violence? Less children in foster care? Would there be less division and racial hatred? Would there be anyone hungry or homeless?
Conflict is a Part of Living in a Broken World
Without Christ there can never be continual peace. Even Christians don’t always agree and as a result churches split, denominations draw lines in the sand, and Christian couples end up divorced. As long as we are broken sinners, there will be conflict. Satan wants nothing more than to ruin the testimony of Christians so he stirs up strife and contentions. Conflict is simply a part of living in a broken world.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
But Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Jesus didn’t need to command us to avoid conflict or to protect our own tranquility. That’s what we do naturally. He didn’t need to command us to stick up for ourselves and our opinions and make sure everyone knows that we are right. We do that naturally too. Naturally, we are self-centered sinners and when you get two or more self-centered sinners together, eventually there will be conflict. Jesus, instead, blesses the one doesn’t do what’s natural. He blesses the person who brings true peace to others.
Be the bridge to Peace
Can you think of a person you know who is a peacemaker? My younger sister has always been one. And I have always been the opinionated sister – the one who spoke – then thought. Thankfully, as I’ve matured, I’ve learned to mostly think first but when I’m really upset, the words fly out faster than the brain works. But as I think about Kathy, I’d so much would rather be like her. Always ready to build the bridge to peace.
How to bring peace in chaos
Anyone is capable of bringing peace in the midst of chaos with the help of the Holy Spirit. To be a peacemaker, one must find a way to bring those at odds to the negotiating table, put aside their differences and find a solution to the problem while remaining level headed and maintaining an inner sense of prayer throughout the conflict. A Christian peacemaker will listen for the inner voice of the Holy Spirit who is giving them wisdom and guidance to help bring about peace.
When chaos arises its hard to consider the full presence, peace, prosperity and blessings of God much less have a heart-felt desire for the other person to experience the same. We get caught up in how we were offended, hurt, taken advantage of, laughed at, or gossiped about and thoughts of harmony, wholeness, prosperity, and welfare are no where to be found. So how can we be peacemakers that God blesses?
Finding peace begins with prayer
The first thing is to pray. Too often prayer becomes our last resort when we don’t know what else to do. Learn to pray first. Pray for God to give you wisdom for how to best handle the conflict. Ask Him to give you humility, a willingness to see the other person’s side of the story, grace to accept when you’re wrong, and a forgiving heart for where the other person is wrong. Pray for him to give you discernment and compassion. Pray for the other person as well.
Finding peace requires listening to the other side of the story
The second thing is to remember there is always another side to the story so ask them. Any conversation that revolves around conflict is difficult, but don’t wait and let bitterness and anger fester inside. Go to the other person as soon as possible – with an open mind that truly wants to hear their side. Listen as they share with a spirit of prayer and a desire for resolution and peace.
Finding peace requires being willing to say, “I’m sorry.”
The third thing to being a peacemaker is to be willing to say, “I’m sorry.” If you recognize a part of the conflict that is your fault, own up to it and ask for their forgiveness. It is very hard to admit to others our faults but we need to remember that we are no more perfect that they other person is. Sometimes conflict is nothing more than a simple misunderstanding. Other times it goes much deeper. Rarely is conflict a one-sided issue where only one person is in the wrong. A peacemaker is willing to humble themselves and admit to their part and work toward restoring peace.
Find peace requires love, humility and honesty
Lastly, there are times when a peacemaker needs to humbly step in help the other person acknowledge sin in their life that has caused the conflict and point them back to God so they can find peace with Him. It isn’t done with pride or accusation but with a Christ-like love and a desire to see the other person have a restored relationship with God.
Peace has to be made and Peacemakers take the initiative
Its impossible to go through life without conflict. So the next time conflict comes remember that Jesus is softly saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Peace doesn’t just happen because we wish it were so…peace has to be made and peacemakers take the initiative. Be the person that works to restore peace – not the one that stirs up tensions and strife. Bring harmony, wholeness, and welfare to others. Be the person who desires for others to experience the full presence, peace, prosperity, and blessings of God.
And yes…we really do want world peace.
Feel like giving up? Paul reminds us in Hebrews 12:1 to run with perseverance the race that was set before us.
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