Standing Strong Through the Storm - Saturday, July 19, 2014
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.Matthew 5:9
With the possession of a meek spirit, we are equipped to step into the midst of conflict and be ambassadors “waging peace” that passes all understanding. The richness of the New Testament word “peace” describes a condition of perfect and complete positive well-being. It also describes right relationships—intimate fellowship and goodwill between human beings. Peace comes not from avoiding issues but from facing them, making peace even when the way is through trouble.
Blessed are those peacemakers who produce right relationships in every sphere of life, for they are doing a God-like work.
Such actions may involve laying down one’s life, like Jesus did, in order to reconcile men with God and break down barriers among men (Galatians 3:26-29). Are we willing to pay the price so that others might find peace with God? Are we willing to insist that all should hear the Gospel and believe? In some conflict areas of the world, Christians call this “waging peace.”
Our brothers and sisters in Israel and the West Bank—where “peace” is sought but very evasive—remind us that Jesus’ high moral teaching is that we should not resist evil with evil (Matthew 5:39). Jesus is calling His followers not to respond in kind to the acts of injustice and dehumanization directed against them, but rather to respond with transforming initiatives. This unique perspective that He teaches contrasts with the “fight or flight” responses so deeply conditioned in human beings.
Dr. Salim Munayer is a wonderful example of such a peacemaker. The organization he founded takes groups of Christian Palestinians and Israelis on trips to the desert where they must work together in a situation that breaks down barriers and promotes trust relationships. Brother Andrew comments that this ministry doesn’t “just talk about the problem between Palestinians and Jews. It brings the two sides together and provides the means for them to reconcile.”
“Waging peace” involves: promoting love not hate; fostering unity among brethren; being a witness of a higher kingdom; and following the non-violence example of Jesus.
RESPONSE: Today I will be proactive and “wage peace” in my sphere of influence.
PRAYER: Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. May I counter hatred with love and injury with forgiveness today.