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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

November 18, 2016

How are we to be peacemakers?

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

In the sermon on the mount Jesus emphasized the quality of being a peacemaker for those who will enter the kingdom of God: "Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9).

What did Jesus have in mind with the word "peacemakers"? Maybe we think of someone who pursues a diplomatic career, negotiating between nations who have problems with each other, or perhaps a labor negotiator like my older brother, who helped to settle strikes between labor and management.

Man's history proves abundantly that we would not have much success in attempting to establish lasting peace among the nations in this age. But Jesus was not talking about worldly diplomacy.

"The way of peace they have not known", is God's assessment of people who don't know Him or His way of life. We learn the way of peace when we live God's way. Being a peacemaker has to do with our way of life.

In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve ended their peace with God by rebelling against Him. Cain did not live in peace with his brother Abel – or God – because he did not control his disappointment and emotions.

Our way of life determines whether or not we are peacemakers. Being at peace with God is most important, as we submit to His way of life. We are to be at peace with our neighbor, too. The apostle Paul tells us: "As much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18).

It is not easy to have peace with people who do not want to have peace, but it should not be the result of our actions. Complying with Paul's exhortation requires our constant vigilance, self-control, and earnest prayer.

King Solomon tells us that "a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). Several years ago an angry husband of a church member called me on the phone. He was antagonistic toward our beliefs. "Your head is full of manure," he told me, using more colorful language. I told him that I was not perfect and realized that I needed to work on my faults and shortcomings. He was so flabbergasted by my response that he ended the conversation.

Jesus tells us that in today's world peace-breaking "offenses must come," but it is part of Christian duty to ensure that our conduct produces no just cause of complaint against us (Matthew 18:7). It is impossible to be happy while involved in arguments and warfare. There are contentious people, and some Christians have this weakness as well. James tells us that Godly wisdom is "peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17). So a wise man will answer softly when he is contradicted and knows that his viewpoint is correct.

A lifestyle that promotes peace is so important for God that He will exclude those from His kingdom whose actions prevent peace. God is not joking when He tells us that He hates anyone "who sows discord among brethren" (Proverbs 6:19).

Jesus Christ gave us a living example of a life that promotes peace. "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth"; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:21-23).

Jesus is the prince of peace. Let's follow His example!

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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