These days, it feels like everywhere I look, conflict is in overdrive. With everything going on in the world, groups, individuals, philosophies and beliefs are clashing all over the place. Last week Lauren Dunn talked about this in her article “How to Fight Fair in a Contentious Culture.”
I don’t know if I’ve ever disagreed with more people than I do right now. Whether it’s election candidates and issues, vaccine protocols, COVID shutdowns and mask mandates, police funding or 2020 sports, we are all finding things to argue about.
I don’t know about sports, but I totally relate with the rest of her statement. The level of unrest and antagonism in the world seems like it’s at an all-time high in nearly every circle I’m a part of. Put simply, it’s disturbing my peace.
Blessed are the peacemakers
I’ve been doing a Bible study on the Sermon on the Mount (found in Matthew 5-7). This well-known sermon contains Jesus’ very first public teachings. So, what’s on His mind? He explains how the kingdom of heaven — God’s empire — is different from the Jewish tradition and laws that had governed the people in the past. He tells them how to be “blessed” — and I’m sure it wasn’t the advice they were expecting. He told them they must be poor in spirit, repentant, meek, craving righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers.
When you look at the whole list together, it paints the picture of a humble, gentle, compassionate and peace-loving individual. This person is not a fighter, but a distributer of God’s peace. Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Peace is part of God’s nature, and as His children, bringing peace is part of our job description. In fact, the people around us desperately need peace. They are longing for it. Here are three things to consider as you seek to spread peace in a world of turmoil.
True peace begins at the cross.
When you look around, people are looking for peace in many different places: financial security, relationships, belongings, social status, meditation and self-care — and right now, even political victories and control. But true peace doesn’t come from any of these sources. Romans 5:1 reveals the starting point of finding peace when it says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Finding peace in the midst of turmoil begins with making peace with God through faith in Jesus. When I start to look to other things to provide peace, I will always be disappointed.
God’s peace is deeper than human peace.
Many days, I feel like the “peace” — best described as a sense of well-being — that I can conjure up myself falls way short of what I need. So many situations require peace “which surpasses all understanding.” And that kind of peace only comes from Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
In his article “The Prince of Peace … and You,” Matt Ehresman writes:
Maybe peace is so appealing because it is so rare. This peace Isaiah is talking about is the Hebrew word shalom that you’ve probably heard before. That word is deeper than the idea of peace between nations or a friendship without conflict. This peace is deep, often defined as “completeness.” A complete lack of want, and a complete trust in God.
Another benefit of Christ’s supernatural peace is that it is an antidote to fear. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). That’s good news in a world that seems governed by fear. Fear doesn’t have to be the norm in a believer’s life.
We are called to be agents of peace to a world in turmoil.
The upheaval in our world shouldn’t surprise us. The earth is groaning, longing for God to make things right. And the enemy’s scheme is to divide, create confusion, escalate lawlessness and, ultimately, steal, kill and destroy. As Christians we have a source of peace and hope that is far greater than the craziness around us. More than that, we’re called to carry that peace to those who don’t know Christ. Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19:
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
We aren’t peacemakers to be doormats; we are peacemakers because through our example, God invites a world in chaos to find peace in Him. We get to be on the front lines of this effort! We facilitate peace in the words we speak, how we respond in tense situations, what we post on social media, how we love our Christian brothers and sisters, and in many ways, big and small, every day. As we embrace God’s peace and pass it along to others, we reflect our Savior who is the true hope for this world.
Copyright 2020 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.