The Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers

for they will be called children of God

Matthew 5:9

Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently. Romans 14:1 Msg

I have seen my share of bloggers and political commentators who call themselves Christian, yet

  • actively encourage division
  • enjoy being combative
  • eagerly watch brothers and sisters argue and debate
  • relish their own popularity boosted by a cloud of rancor and shouting over their own agenda
  • promote and encourage others to make condescending, degrading comments, then distance themselves by refusing to take responsibility for their own part

They are not peacemakers.

freedigitalphotos.net ©njaj

freedigitalphotos.net ©njaj

A peacemaker provides grace, mercy, love, sincerity, encouragement, acceptance, humility and a safe place.

A “safe place” or “oasis” is a refuge from the criticisms, performance requirements and the disconnectedness and rejection in relationships that we often find in the world we live in. It’s a place where people are free to be who they really are without judgment. A place where they are unconditionally loved and accepted. It’s a place where your name is safe on people’s lips.” Mel Wild, In My Father’s House

Some of us even take issue with Bible versions. Some say the King James version is outdated and incorrect; others say it’s the only version they read. Some say The Message is over the top and a perversion of God’s Word; others say it helps make the Word of God understandable and draws people toward God. (This, by the way, is why I used both versions here.)

Publicly known Christian leaders denounce other Christian leaders for their approach to the gospel: from Joel Osteen to Rob Bell to John Piper to Brett McCracken to Bradlee Dean to Pat Robertson.

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Ephesians 2:14 NLT

No one said being a peacemaker was easy. Our natural inclination is to feel offended, spout off, draw battle lines and choose up sides.

Civil War Battle

Civil War Battle

As Christians, when we enter into public discourse and pepper our conversations with labels of groups – Christian, Jew, Muslim, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, homosexual, straight, liberal, conservative, fundamentalist, anti-choice, pro-abortion – our salt has already lost its flavor.

These public conversations, while sounding righteously passionate, are condescending, undignified, and lukewarm. In our erroneous desire to judge, we chase believers and unbelievers away from God. (Romans 2:24, Isaiah 5:25, Ezekiel 36:22). We have already been warned we are to give no cause for offense in anything, so that the gospel will not be discredited (2 Corinthians 6:3), yet we continue to offend, using His name to justify our own agendas.

We must remember, as peacemakers, as followers of Christ, there are human beings within these labeled groups that deserve our individual love, grace and mercy. Each person deserves a private, safe, loving, gentle, dignified, humble and peaceable conversation with someone who seeks to offer God’s open hand.

We must get back to the basics of grace. Being a peacemaker takes exponentially more sophistication and circumspection than simply being “nice.” It’s undeniably more courageous than drawing a line in the sand. To be a peacemaker, we must admit we are incompetent at it, and turn to the Master Peacemaker for the answers.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18 (NLT)

When we forget to be peacemakers and fall into judgment, we are only able to judge as fallible humans. We do not judge as God judges. God’s judgment is based on truth, and tempered with kindness, mercy and patience which leads toward repentance. (Romans 2:4) Our judgment is filled with accusation. It separates people from God.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 (KJV)

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 (NASB)

Next Week: Missional Living

www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

28 comments

  1. bunnyb1802 · ·

    love this post because it echoes my heart of not wanting to judge or be so quick as to point out others’s faults – I’m sure I still do and that makes me mad and freaks me out. We are called to be peacemakers, you are so right. I hope and pray God continues to work on my heart so that I become more of a peacemaker in His image rather than my own, flawed image of peacemaker.

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    1. All of us who wish to reflect His image are working on this day by day, I think. It’s not an easy task; it takes courage, a willingness to walk the narrow path and abide in the Spirit. We must have perseverance if we are to follow Him.

      Thank you for your comment that speaks for us all.

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  2. A truly amazing post, Susan. Thank you for sharing it. I am in full agreement with all the comments here, it was excellent!! 🙂 Hugs sent your way!

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    1. Thank you, Skye. Hugs flying back your way! 🙂

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  3. You’ve come to my blog several times. (Thank you so much!) So, I came back over here today, where I immediately realized why I’m not following you. But! I read this post and I see, you are not THEM. I have many friends like you. You’re the kind who’s truly moved and attempting to live with the teachings of Christ. That’s all the more I can label you.
    If non-Christians are welcome here, I’ll be glad to follow.
    For the record, I don’t know Osteen personally, but I’ve heard him preach on several occasions, and I frequently like his sermons. I’m especially fond of the one where you can’t wait for something to happen, ie “I’ll be happier when I’m thinner/married/promoted” but you must submit to happiness now.
    Thanks again, for stoppin by! 🙂

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    1. lol! Thanks for the compliment! No, we’re not all “like that!” There are many of us who truly ache to live our lives by following Jesus, by understanding his heart, that he was inclusive and welcoming, not exclusive and judgmental.

      I hope you come by more often – you’re absolutely welcome here! ❤

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      1. Thank you 🙂

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  4. Susan, thank you for such wise and necessary words. If we each focused on our own individual incompetence then I’m sure the bickering would come to an abrupt halt. ‘Nothing but the Blood.’

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

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    1. Oh, Wendy, aren’t we all just too darn quick to think we have it all together and our armpits don’t stink? I know I could use a strong dose of humility at least hourly! 😉

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  5. This was a beautiful point. we often forget when we are caught up in the drama of “winning” and drawing up sides that we are sacrificing our own peace.

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    1. Absolutely. The need to be right so often becomes more important than the need to be connected. We weren’t made to be solitary – we were made to be in relationship.

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  6. Susan, you are very right in every area. We Christians, always say we are following what the bible say. But in reality, we are following what our mind say. When Jesus Christ came according to the bible, He created no division no matter the level of hatred that existed then but rather treated everybody the same way. Anyone the world condemn, He restores. At times when I think about the way some Christians do things or what they say, it baffles me. I am not perfect but I tried to follow what I say or read from the bible. Yes, the bible say we should not judge but the issue is that, the behavior of some Christians scare many people away from accepting Jesus Christ. Thanks for sharing the truth and have a blessed weekend.

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    1. Oh, it baffles me, to! I simply don’t understand it particularly, as you said, because the end result is that we scare non-believers away from accepting Jesus. It’s really a shame. We all should be about God’s business, which is reconciling all creation to Himself.

      Bless you for your insight, and have a wonderful weekend.

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  7. Great post, Susan! You hit the nail squarely on the head! All the bickering needs to stop especially in the very public arenas where the non-believers find even more reasons to discount all that we believe and would have them believe. I don’t always agree with other people but it’s what the Lord thinks and not what I think that matters, and if there is fault in them or me it’s up to the Lord to do the judging. Have a great weekend. Blessings and hugs, Natalie 🙂

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    1. Amen, Natalie. You have a great weekend, too!

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  8. I have read this now several times, and the words become more beautiful each time. I have a Cate’ism … Huzzah!!! Thank you. 🙂

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    1. Oh, I like that “Cate’ism!” I’ll take that Huzzah! anytime, Paul. Thank you.

      I feel so strongly about this – those of us of like minds must take a stand to invite, to include, to encourage, to love. We must proclaim the words and intent of Jesus and surrender to the Spirit’s work in us. We must not give the enemy of hate and divisiveness any more sway.

      We must, as it depends on us, create, promote, and make peace between our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must build the kingdom through mercy, grace and love.

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      1. Susan, your post and another today prompted my “rocking and a-rolling” – which began life very differently. On the iPad I have yet to figure out how to copy a link. When I get on the computer I will.

        All of what you said – post and this comment … Oh yes!!

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      2. Thank you, Paul. Your encouragement and support means more than I can express here. Bless you.

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      3. 🙂 Thank you! 🙂

        And that link: “Light it up what?? I’m puzzled.” by Pensive Aspie – http://pensiveaspie.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/light-it-up-what-im-puzzled/

        Your words and hers – they just echoed each other in very different ways, and so many the same ways.

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  9. Amen and amen. That kind of behavior and that way of talking destroys both those addressed and those who address. Or those who ignore those with whom they disagree. I was shocked when two former students from long ago not only did not respond to my FB invitation, but did not acknowledge me at all. That was 8 years ago, and it still stings because I know it had to do with me leaving the church where I was teaching to go to Portugal, and because I am a woman. I can picture them turning their backs on the Samaritan woman. It’s more sad than anything else. Thank you for this post, Susan.

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    1. It is sad, because when we turn our backs we become stumbling blocks. When we accuse, we become walls instead of doors. When we ignore, we take down welcome signs.

      We are not the ones who determine who is blessable; that is God’s sole right. And thankfully, He is filled with forgiveness, grace, mercy and unending love.

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  10. Meditating on Ephesians 4:1-3 might encourage us to seek to maintain the unity God gave us, cherishing it and each other.
    The pettiness and arguing you described just confirms what the world thinks of Christians.
    It tarnishes the church and gives the unbeliever a reason to dismiss the more important message of God’s love in Jesus Christ. We obscure that beautiful gospel truth with our disputes over ‘doubtful questions’ and people go away believing we had nothing of consequence to share that would bring hope and peace to their lives.
    Great post Susan.

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    1. Thank you, Kelly. I agree; we must put God first and put our disagreements over theology behind the kingdom. We cannot continue to worship Him and the idols of dogma and tradition.At some point, we must understand He does not belong us; it is we who belong to Him.

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  11. I know you have no idea…how MUCH I needed to read this now dearest Susan. It has given me so so much peace on so many levels my friend. To explain it would be to explain my entire ethos and life story and place I find myself in. It IS a place of peace…in knowing my place.
    Peace – 😉

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    1. Sending you all the love I have today, sweet friend. (( ❤ ))

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      1. Mailed you babe ❤ Thank you!

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