Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9). If there was ever a statement made by Jesus that has direct application to our current cultural situation, this is it. As I write, there are multiple demonstrations, many peaceful, some violent, drawing attention to a problem that exists in our country which was recently highlighted by a specific expression of hatred and prejudice on the part of several police officers. I’m not interested in debating who did what, and with what motivation. I am talking about the reality that it has become evident once again (as it has numerous times before) that our country is not at peace even with itself. Our political process is rife with division and constant attacks against those who disagree with one person/party/philosophy or another. At the worst extreme are those who are openly calling for anarchy.
Along comes Jesus, saying we should be peacemakers. Let’s be sure to understand that Jesus did not say peace keepers or pacifists, but peacemakers. His challenge was to facilitate peace; to actively pursue it. He didn’t just want us to avoid conflict and aim for quiet or tranquility. He called us to be the kind of people who work toward peace.
Sin, and specifically pride are what keep us from peace since that keeps our focus on ourselves. The reality is that we must learn how to pursue peace, living in that which is already accomplished for us in Christ. As a side note; I would commend Dr. Voddie Baucham’s message addressing reconciliation specifically as it relates to racial issues. You can find it here.
All of this will require several things from me: humility (considering others more significant than myself – Phil. 2:3), listening, and a willingness to actively pursue relationships with people who differ from me, whether racially, politically, or even in personality. If I spend all my time with people like me, I will never be able to actively pursue the peace (reconciliation) that has already been accomplished for us through Christ.
So, related to that last thought, let me add that true reconciliation will never happen apart from our union with Christ. No matter what the differences look like, both I and the other person must first be reconciled to God. Whether I need that to happen for me or whether I need to share that with those around me, it takes first place.
When we live like this, we demonstrate that a likeness to God who actively gave His Son to die in order to achieve reconciliation.
I have some work to do. I suspect you do too.