The Sweet Stuff Ministry

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Peacemaker or Peace-taker?

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.

Peacemaker or Peace-taker?

As Christians, we are called to get along with other people.  Romans 12:18 tells us, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone".   Living at peace with everyone begins with our own personal relationship with God.  The first and greatest commandment is, "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).  Obedience of this commandment produces peace within the heart of an individual.  When we obey the first commandment, the second order from God follows, "and the second is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew 22:39).  I believe that these two commands are the foundation for living at peace with other people.

We all desire peace.  Peace in a relationship produces happiness, contentment, and security.  A lack of peace within us, generates insecurities and discontentment.  These feelings are breeding grounds for becoming a "peace-taker".  If we lack inner peace, then we are likely to be disruptive of the peace within those people around us.  We may be unaware that we are disrupting the peace around us, but negative feelings do not produce positive behaviors.

Ken Sande, author of The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, said, "in many cases, however, conflict is fueled by good desires that we have elevated to sinful demands, such as a longing to be loved in a certain way, a craving for peace and quiet, a demand to see a certain project succeed, or an insistence that everyone worship in a certain way"(2004).  In James 4:1, we are told that fights and quarrels originate from the "desires that battle within us".  In other words, the temptation to disrupt everyday peace is a battle between our own ears.

Peacemakers are concerned with relationships.  They are interested in loving others.  In doing so, peacemakers pick their battles, so to speak.  They have wisdom overlook offenses and differences that cause unnecessary disturbances of peace, "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3).

Peacemaking involves the receiving and giving of grace.  We receive God's grace daily.  As a peacemaker, we are to offer grace to others.   The apostle Paul began his letters with "grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:2).  Pastor Rick Ezell points out, "reading his letters, you never find the order reversed to “peace and grace.” Grace always comes before peace. We have to experience the grace of God before we can experience the peace of God.

As we ponder being a peacemaker, let us consider the attitude we hold toward our relationships with others.   Are we concerned with loving others as God loves us?  Are we willing to apply heavenly wisdom in order to overlook offenses in order to be a peacemaker?  Do we battle a loving relationship with others because of our own selfish desires?

Peacemaker's prayer:  Lord, help me to seek peace with others through the grace which you offer.  Give me wisdom to overlook differences that will prevent me from loving others the way in which you desire.  Strengthen my attitude so that I may be a Peacemaker and not a peace-taker.  Amen.

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