Summary: Introduction: Disagreements, feuds, and suspicion seem to be the rule of the day rather than the exception. Even the routine of daily life can lead a person to explode emotionally and spiritually. To those who calm the troubled waters of humankind’s disc
Peacemaking-The Way to Happiness
Text: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God" (Matt. 5:9).
Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-9
Disagreements, feuds, and suspicion seem to be the rule of the day rather than the exception. Even the routine of daily life can lead a person to explode emotionally and spiritually. To those who calm the troubled waters of humankind’s discord, Jesus promises joy and blessings. In fact, Jesus said that peacemakers would be known as the children of God.
In each of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament the word peace is found. It appears eighty-eight times. The story of the good news of Jesus Christ begins with the words, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). Near the conclusion of our Lord’s ministry his loving benediction is, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27). And the apostle Paul introduces each of his epistles with that familiar greeting, "Grace to you and peace." God needs human instruments through whom this peace may be shared. And in this beatitude Christ challenges each of us to become a peacemaker. A person must qualify for the privilege of peacemaking. It is a right reserved only for those who meet three requirements.
I. The privilege of peacemaking.
A. The privilege of peacemaking is the privilege of those who are at peace with God. This beatitude is constructed on the six preceding beatitudes. We are not privileged to become peacemakers until we admit our spiritual poverty, mourn over sin, practice the self control that results from meekness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, show mercy, and become pure in heart.
The fact that we need to make peace with God does not mean that God is angry with us or that he is standing to one side unwilling to communicate with us. The only cause of alienation between us and God is our sin and disobedience. Henry David Thoreau, although a transcendentalist rather than an evangelical, sought to fellowship with God by Walden Pond. He claimed to maintain an intimate communion with God that was perhaps more intimate than relationships between many believers. As he neared the end of his life, someone asked if he had made his peace with God. Thoreau replied, "We never quarreled." In feeling at peace with God, he was at peace with others and thus a peacemaker with mankind.
B. The privilege of peacemaking is the privilege of those who are at peace with others.
"If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift" (Matt. 5:23-24 NIV). The ending of hostilities and the refusal to have conflict is not necessarily peace. For instance, two people may stop entering into violent dialogue but retreat into days of stony silence instead. They are not friends; they have simply refused to speak with one another. Two countries may declare a cease fire, but that does not guarantee a lasting peace.
Peace is a positive attribute. It is actually a matter of the right kind of relationships. Constant goodwill results when individuals are at peace with one another. To be at peace with others we must not insist that they meet us halfway. Peacemakers reach out, take the initiative. Their concern is not who is to blame but rather how reconciliation and peace can be attained. Peacemakers are not faultfinders; they are healers.
C. The privilege of peacemaking is the privilege of those who are at peace with themselves. Those who try to calm the troubled waters of others’ oceans without first smoothing the ripples of their own pond find their efforts in vain. People who are always at war with fellow workers, family, and friends are at war with themselves.
We may speak a word that unintentionally causes friends to hurt within, or we may share a story that, whether true or false, injures another. When this becomes a pattern in our lives, it is obvious to everyone around us that we are not at peace with ourselves. Peacemakers begin with themselves.
II. The purpose of peacemaking.
Peacemaking is not peace at any price. It is not appeasement or cowardice. Some individuals pride themselves in never becoming involved in a feud, when the truth is they lack courage to stand up for what is right. If decency and justice are to be defended, they let others do the work. Those Who live by this cowardly code of conduct are really enemies of peace.
The apostle Paul saw reconciliation as the purpose of the ministry of both Christ and Christians. "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5:18-19 NIV).