Enjoying the Journey
In a world of strife peace is a wonderful thing. There is a peace that is connected to truth and there is a peace that compromises it. Peace can never become the goal; only the God of peace deserves that honor. But when the God of peace rules in a man’s heart it will show up in his relationships with others.
If you find a man who loves contention and debate you have met a man in whom the God of peace does not have His rightful place. In our Lord’s most famous sermon He declared, “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). This is one of the distinguishing marks of God’s happy people.
There are three kinds of men: peace takers, peace breakers, and peacemakers.
Peace takers do not live in peace and they do not think anyone else should either. They are selfish thieves who live to rob others of any semblance of peace. They thrive on fights and frequently instigate them.
Peace breakers are often good men who mean well, but they react to every word and circumstance. They speak without weighing the consequences. Their temper and opinion rules the day. Around them there are periods of peace (as long as you agree with them) with regular eruptions.
Peacemakers are those who follow the Lord Jesus closely enough that they are becoming like Him. They are not the same as “peacekeepers.” Peacekeepers try to minimize skirmishes; peacemakers seek to bring needless conflict to an end. Peacekeepers may seek to maintain peace, but peacemakers strive to make it. They are not passive spectators; they are proactive about initiating reconciliation.
Sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it?
There will be enough conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil without inviting more. Here are a few principles for peacemakers…
- Pray for those with whom you are at odds. Intercession and gossip do not go well together. As you pray for them you will find God’s mind about the matter and God’s heart toward the person.
- Hold your tongue. Peacemakers don’t have to have the last word. Their words are carefully chosen and seasoned with the grace of God. “Wait on the Lord” works in relationships too. Sometimes it is best just to leave it to the judgment seat and trust that God will make all things right in His time.
- Take wrongs. Jesus taught this when He said to turn the other cheek and give them your cloke also (Matthew 5:39,40). Paul taught it this way: Suffer yourself to be defrauded (1 Corinthians 6:7). That is foreign to our world! Indeed, it is of another world – it is supernatural living motivated by the love of God. We like to quote “Only by pride cometh contention.” Yet it always seems to be someone else’s pride. Remember that before Jesus asked us to take our cross, He took His. Here is one of the great principles of peacemaking: you die first.
- Refuse to bring up past problems. Peace is based on forgiveness and forgiveness chooses not to bring it up again! When we bring up old hurts we are more like Satan than we are like Jesus. It is the Devil that is the “Accuser of the brethren.” Don’t join his ranks.
- Keep “the law of kindness” in your words (Proverbs 31:26). It is amazing how a tender tone, a soft answer, a smile can turn away misunderstanding and argument.
If you want a true portrait of a peacemaker, look at Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. Calvary is proof. He took the initiative, bore the burden. To truly follow Him is to become like Him. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and grace to be a peacemaker in your home, in your church, on your job – everywhere you are dealing with people!
Thank God, there will be no ignorance in Heaven! (Mine or “theirs”!) Until then, there will always be something to deal with. The next time you are dealing with problems remember how patient the Lord Jesus has been with you.
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).