Summary: Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of righteousness in the haearts of men and women.Peacemakers are those who have been called to share that reality with others.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.

One would be hard pressed to find a better description of the peace that God desires for his children than the words of an old song written in 1875 by Edward Henry Bickersteth. Entitled "Peace Perfect Peace" I would encourge you to find an older hymn book and carefully read the words of that song. Though most of us would certainly write the message differently today, the dept, meaning, and power of the words are incredible.

Only one bankrupt in spirit, broken with grief, submissive to God’s leading, living with an insatiable hunger for righteousness, filled with mercy, and committed to purity can know such peace, a peace that comes from God (James 3:17) and results from our faith in and our relationship with Christ (Romans 5:1; John 16:33). This peace has been compared to the deep¬est recesses of the ocean where, regardless of the storms raging on the surface, remains serene and tranquil. Christians know a peace the world can¬not give or take away, a peace that does not depend on the circumstances that surround them or the situation they find themselves in. Christians know that in the best circumstances without God there is no peace, and in the worst circumstances with God one never lacks it.

Peace within is essential, for there will never be peace without. In the past 4,000 years there have been less than 300 years of world peace. World War II was billed as the war to end all wars. It didn’t. In 1945 the United Nations set as its motto, “To have succeeding gen¬erations free from the scourge of war,” and thus far that has not been true one single day. Every peace treaty ever brokered has been broken, and peace has proved to be only that brief moment in time when everyone stops to reload. The problem lies in the fact that we have delegated the job of peacemaking to politicians, statesmen, and diplomats and have failed to real¬ize the only real peace the world will ever know will result when God rules in the hearts of people, a rule that only we as God’s children are called upon and privileged to promote in our world. Our ultimate calling is a calling to be peacemakers. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The followers of Jesus have been called to peace. When He called them they found their peace, for He is their peace. But now they are told that they must not only have peace but make it.”

Peacemakers are those who want others to have the peace they enjoy and actively commit themselves to sharing Christ. While the world thinks peace is the absence of conflict, Christians know peace is the pres¬ence of righteousness in the hearts of men and women, a righteousness that can only be experienced through a relationship with Christ (John 14:27).

Don Richardson tells of working with the Sawi Tribe in Irian Jaya and the frustration he experienced in trying to help them understand the meaning of Christ and His death on the cross. At the time, the Sawi’s were in a bitter feud with another tribe, and Don often wondered if there would ever be peace. He learned of a custom among the tribes that if a child was given as a permanent gift to the enemy, peace would prevail as long as that child lived. As the story goes, a father took his only child, ran from the village, and presented him to the enemy. That baby became known as the Peace Child, for as long as he lived, there was peace. Don had his analogy. He presented Jesus as the perfect peace child, and as long as He lives, peace can reign in the hearts of His followers.

That is the story of a peacemaker. That is our story. Experiencing the peace of God in our own hearts (Colossians 3:5), we “make every effort to live in peace with all men” (Hebrews 12:14) and share the “gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15) with those who do not know it.

Practicing peace isn’t always easy as indicated by the following story. Each night as the lights went out in the bar¬racks, a young soldier would slip out of bed and on his knees spend time in prayer. His sergeant, who had little use for anything “Christian,” saw this one night, picked up his muddy boots, and slung them in the soldier’s direction. The young man barely flinched as one of the boots hit him in the side of the head and the sergeant, muttering an obscenity, rolled over to sleep. The fol¬lowing morning the sergeant found his boots beside his bed, cleaned and pol¬ished to perfection. Peacemakers in the words of Jesus “love their enemies, pray for their persecutors, turn the other cheek, and go the second mile.” Peacemakers make every effort to live in peace with others.

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