Work for Peace
17 January 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 5:1-12 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9 NLT)
Jesus told his disciples that when they went to a new place to preach the Good News, they should speak a blessing of peace. He said, “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him…” (Luke 10:6). A man or woman of peace is someone who makes peace, who promotes harmony, who de-escalates conflict.
To be a peacemaker, to work for peace, is a high calling, a calling that follows in the steps of Jesus. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, over 220,000 American Peace Corps volunteers have served in 141 countries. When Jean and I served as missionaries in rural Jamaica in the 1980’s we became friends with a Peace Corps volunteer named Liz. She had retired from her career as a nurse in the USA and came to live in our market town. Her work was to visit smaller villages and remote areas to assess the health of pregnant women and to get them access to clinics for pre- and post-natal care. Liz was a woman of peace!
Working for peace, being a peacemaker, is hard! If you try to mediate peace between two people in conflict, you have to make sure you listen equally to both and absolutely refuse to take sides. To make peace with someone who disagrees with you, you must listen openly and carefully to their point of view, their side of the story, and be open to changing your mind about who’s right and who’s wrong.
Here’s a quick Peacemaker checkup: Are you a peaceful person? Do people feel safe in your presence? Does conflict or potential conflict escalate or de-escalate when you get involved? Are you willing to sacrifice the satisfaction of “being right” to make peace with another person?
Isaiah said Jesus would be called the Prince of Peace. Jesus said if we’re peacemakers people will say, “You’re just like your Dad!”
Father, Thanks so much for the privilege of being your child! Please help me to be willing to be a peacemaker—to work for peace, to sacrifice for peace, to take the risks of getting involved in helping restore peace and harmony to relationships between others and relationships with others. In Jesus’ Name!