Sunday, January 8, 2017

Peace

There are a lot of pieces to peace and the Bible strings them together like pearls, one more beautiful that the one before:

"A peacemaker is someone who experiences the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) because he is at peace (Romans 5:1) with the God of peace (Philippians 4:9) through the Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), who, indeed, is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and who therefore seeks to live at peace with all others (Romans 12:18) and proclaims the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) so that others might have joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13)". (Compiled by Dustin S., found on desiringGod.org)

There seem to be two components to this peace: one is the peace I get from faith and the other is the peace I strive for with my neighbor. Peace is a bridge, a bridge from me to God and a bridge from me to you. Looking at it that way, it makes perfect sense that Jesus would include the peacemaker in His Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9)

Christmas has come and gone, 2017 has started - and being a peacemaker is my new year's resolution. It is also an act of obedience... two birds with one stone, how very efficient of me. I know that this won't be easy. Everything worth having in life requires hard work and sacrifice, blessings included.

Being a peacemaker is personal. It is the time-consuming, tedious, repetitious work of a bridge-builder. It is also risky and potentially hurtful and often thankless, regardless of whether I am one of the feuding parties or a bystander trying to step in. A few months ago I slipped and landed smack between two fighting dogs. Coming eye to eye with the flashing teeth of two snarling, growling, attacking dogs is the perfect image of what my new year's resolution may get me into. At the end of the day, we all love a good fight and nothing is more upsetting than a seemingly self-righteous do-gooder who won't take your side and tries to make peace instead.

Being a peacemaker is also against human nature for that very same reason: we all love a good fight. I am far more likely to be the one who is upset, outraged, insulted and mistreated. Rising above to make peace requires just that: to rise above, to look toward God, to seek His peace first.

I am not naive, I am also not likely to win the Miss Universe pageant. But if I was, I don't think I would make "world peace" part of my acceptance speech. All that does is make the goal so lofty and impossible to reach that it becomes a utopian dream rather than a call to action. I am not talking about  world peace here. I am taking about a bridge; a bride from me to you or from you to somebody else. Like the old-fashioned marble game where the ball rolls down one track, falls onto the track below in a different direction, rings a bell or spins a wheel on its way down, and on it goes... countless bridges with some excitement along the way.

James says, "And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:19) Righteousness can only come from Christ and it can only be shared in peace if I make peace - and those are my marching orders for 2017: stay close to God through Christ, feel His peace through faith and trust, and then share it with you. Just like the marble, peace starts at the top and trickles down. My resolution is to clear the tracks and keep the marbles rolling - and I will be plenty busy just clearing up my own tracks. So if you and I are having a tiff, if our bridge needs mending, expect a phone call. It is the beginning of January and new year's resolutions are still going strong. I will show up, brick and mortar in hand, to be the peacemaker God wants me to be... one bridge at a time.

Happy New Year!











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