Among the many aspects of the blessed, Jesus highlighted that peacemakers are blessed by being referred to as sons of God.
It’s interesting that this aspect of the blessed is not always emphasised. It still seems as though I can go looking for God to bless me and restore me and all that other good stuff, with little in the way of taking responsibility for anything. Whilst thinking on it over the last week or so, it occurred to me there was a good reason why this isn’t emphasised.
People love the prize of peace – they’re just not interested in paying the price.
In an entitlement and consumer culture the prize that looks glittering is something that we want as soon as possible. We also want to get it with the minimum of fuss. If you present peace in a particular way, it certainly appears glittering. The life at peace where everything is functioning in a harmonious way bringing out the best in each other for the good of all. Peace depicted as nothing broken or malfunctioning and everything fitting as it should. It’s a beautiful picture.
The price for that is to give up your pride, look to the interests of others first, be prepared to extend mercy and forgiveness to those who hurt you and bless those who oppose you and be quick to seek the forgiveness of others when you err. The price for that peace is to acknowledge your own faults and failings and rather than justifying them or defending yourself leave yourself at the mercies of the other and particular of God. The price is to see the good in others and seek to encourage that even at the worst of times.
The price seems a lot until you recognise what Jesus did to bring about peace. the price He paid was significantly more than we are ever asked to pay. In it He gives a model of the price we should be paying to see peace made in our lives. It’s a price we are able to pay as we submit to Him, but even that is a bit too much for some of us who are so self-absorbed that the thought of someone else ruling is terrifying.
That is why the best place to start in being a peacemaker is to acknowledge the complete inadequacy in our beings to make the peace that lasts and the peace that matters. Not the peace that the world offers with treaties and accords and summits. Not the peace that is cheaply portrayed as a life of no effort. Oh no, the peace on offer here is the richest, purest and most exhilarating peace available. This peace surpasses human understanding but can still find itself as a part of the human experience.
It’s heartbreaking for me to hear of relations in certain communities of grace never flourishing because we allow offence to shut down others. We know gossip expertly, but know nothing about peacemaking. We know bitterness like a pro, but we know nothing about peacemaking. Despite being recipients and beneficiaries of peace, we carry on as though we are yet to get that revelation.
I suggest we need that kind of understanding. We need it to be able to see the prize for its worth and be so committed to it that we will put in place the actions God requires of us to to truly be His children.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden