Pastor So brought us the message this Sunday: In the United Nations building is a plaque dedicated to peace. While this is an admirable concept, in recorded history, it is said that there have only been 286 years without any reported conflicts. We are a warring people. It is in our human nature to fight to get what we want and to fight when we don't get what we want. But as Christians, it is our responsibility to bring peace.
In Matthew 5:9, Jesus tells us that "blessed are the peace-makers." What does this mean? First, we must look at what it doesn't mean. Peace-making is not about avoiding confrontation, or being passive and easy-going. It does not mean peace at any price by being willing to forego or compromise your principles.
But peace-making is best described in James 3:16-42. It is something that transforms your life and changes the way you behave and causes you to think the way God thinks.
When we live as peace-makers we show that we are children of God. This reflects three types of relationships: 1) our relationship with God - we are reconciled with the Father because of the sacrifice of the Son. We are now part of God's family in Christ; 2) our relationship with one another - because we are loved by God, we can love others without having to seek approval from them; 3) our relationship with our self. We don't have to be anxious.
But peace-making doesn't come cheaply. There is a cost. In Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus says "Blessed are those who are persecuted..." The cost of peace-making is persecution.
Charles Spurgeon was a famous preacher in England. He was wildly popular but also had his share of detractors who persecuted him mercilessly. His wife is said to have posted Matthew 5:10-12 all around him to encourage him every day.
Lastly in Matthew 5:12, Jesus tells the people to rejoice and be glad in their persecution. Why can they do that? Because great will be their reward in heaven and knowing that they are not alone.
Will you commit to being a peace-maker this week?