Summary: We would like to contribute to world peace, but how? Confront others with their wrongness; but before that, understand your own heart; and before that, be reconciled to God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Well, who wouldn’t like to be that?! Who wouldn’t want to be a peacemaker and be rewarded by God and by a grateful world? "Blessed are the peacemakers."
The trouble is, it’s not that easy. You and I may fantasize ourselves doing something decisive for the cause of peace, but it’s not that simple.
A friend of mine likes to tell a story on himself. He lives in New York, and had gone to the United Nations to look around. Somehow he got separated from the tour group and found his way, all alone, into the great chamber used by the General Assembly. It was entirely empty -- not a sign of anyone around. No tourists, no guards, no delegates -- no one.
And so my friend conceived a little fantasy. Up there was the great marble podium behind which visiting heads of state and other dignitaries give their addresses. He knew that from that desk various American presidents had spoken, as had assorted Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens, the Pope, the Dalai Lama -- the most prominent people in the world had spoken from that place and had showered their wisdom on the world’s representatives.
Well, thought my friend, since no one is around, I’m just going to step up here and see what it would look like and feel like to be at the podium of the General Assembly of the United Nations. And when he stepped behind that massive desk and looked out at the empty chamber, he began to imagine what it would be like if the room were to be filled with delegates .. and if he had been asked to give a speech.
Well, again, since there was no one around, and since there was no harm in it, my friend just decided to fantasize a bit more, and he started to make up a speech about peace. He began to orate about nuclear disarmament. He looked over to where the Russian delegates would be sitting, had they actually been in the room, and he delivered a scathing condemnation of Marxism and Communism. He then turned to where his own American delegation would have been sitting, had anyone actually been there, and he pounded the podium, blistering American materialism. He spent about ten minutes just telling off the whole world and producing all the answers to all the peace-making issues everywhere around the globe.
It would have been a tremendous occasion, had there actually been anyone listening. And he ended the fantasy imagining himself leaving the platform to the cheers and standing ovations of delegates from scores of nations, all of whom would now go to work to put into place all of his priceless insights.
He then left the General Assembly chamber; he saw a tour group go into a corridor and decided to join them. Not two minutes later they were behind some windows, and the guide was saying, "Out there you see the chamber of the General Assembly. These are one-way windows, so that you can see what is happening in the chamber, but they cannot see you."
It dawned on my good friend that during his ten minutes of fantasy, more than likely several tour groups had passed the one-way windows. And it did not take too much effort for him to imagine what they thought about this wild man up there preaching to an empty chamber!
But I would tell you that many of our efforts at peace-making are just like that. Sheer fantasy. Speaking into empty air. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God". We certainly would like to do that, except that we can only do it in our fantasies. Somehow it never really works out in the real world. Somehow we never get it said, except in our dreams. Somehow we never get the work of peacemaking done so that it makes any difference.
With all that is happening, I know that there has to be a degree of frustration among us this morning about peacemaking. You’d like to do something about the Persian Gulf situation, but what? And how? You may have some convictions about it, but how can they be heard’? You’d like to do something about the drug wars on the streets, but how? Who will listen to you; you make speeches in your own home, but what good does that do? You’d even like to resolve conflicts in your own household, but you just end up working out the answers up in your own head and never really get it done. We are peacemakers, maybe, but only in our fantasies.
But, "Blessed are the peacemakers". How are we going to become effective peacemakers? Let me suggest some strategies.