THE GOSPELS 31
PEACEMAKING…THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF LOVE
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”. Jesus ended the list of seven beatitudes (not counting the two which are warnings about persecution) with this promise to the peacemakers. The relationship which exists between love and peace is evident throughout the biblical account. “God is love”, and His love for His creature, man, caused Him to send His Son to earth. The Son of the Father, who is love, is also love, and He was called “The Prince of Peace”. Paul, in Romans 5, says, “Having been justified by faith let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. The word for “peace” in the Hebrew language means a oneness with another. Peace with God is a oneness with the Father who is love.
In a world torn by strife, and even in a religious world divided by conflicting opinions, power struggles and competition, nothing could be more sorely needed than peace makers. Love cannot survive where there is no peace. In the last fervent prayer of Jesus, He earnestly prayed that His disciples all be one. Here in the Sermon on the Mount, He says that those who work for this oneness…this peace…will be called the children of God. Those who use their opinions and their powers to cause the family of God to be divided should be warned by the implication so plain in this beatitude. Who are the Children of God?
Conflict and strife cause pain and suffering always. Therefore, one who “loves his neighbor as himself” is always going to work to relieve his fellowman of this pain, and thus to labor to make peace wherever he can. Jesus’ goal, as the Prince of Peace, was to bring about peace, or oneness, with the Father, and with all of God’s children. If we are Christians, which means followers of Christ, that must be our goal also. That is what God’s children do. Those whose self-interests, ego-centered opinions, and personal agendas cause strife and division are motivated by the one whose purposes are antithetic to those of the Father.
Peace will never be achieved intellectually, for imperfect men’s minds will never be the same. Agreement, which means seeing things alike, is not possible except in a perfect world, and we all know that that world disappeared at the Gates of the Garden of Eden. Peace must come from the heart, not the head. We must share a common faith in the One who is Our Savior and a love of one another that reflects the love Our Father has for us, in spite of our imperfections. This is the love that binds families together, and it is the only path for unity in the family of God. The legalist and the purist must give way to Christian love which is the foundation of the church and the only basis for its unity. As Jesus said to Peter, “Feed MY sheep”. They are His sheep, not ours, and we must deal with them by His love and not our rules and regulations. This is the emphasis of Jesus when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”. Only one who shares the love of Christ can achieve this.