Do What You Can to Promote Peace
In Jesus’s best-known sermon, which we call the Sermon on the Mount, he proclaims that “Blessed are the peacemakers.” They’ll be known as God’s children (Matthew 5:9).
Though Jesus doesn’t explicitly command us to advocate for peace, he proclaims blessings on those who do. And the blessings are most significant. Peacemakers will be “called children of God.” The inference is that those who do not promote peace are not his children, or at least not known by others as his children.
In similar fashion, James writes that peacemakers will plant peace and then reap righteousness (James 3:18). Again, James doesn’t command that we be peacemakers. He merely says that a significant reward awaits those who are: righteousness; a great harvest of righteousness.
Here are some ideas of what we can do to be a peacemaker.
Guard What We Say
The first step to be a peacemaker is to avoid saying things that stir up dissension. James writes that if we can’t control what we say, our religion is worthless (James 1:26). Paul says that our speech should be gracious (Colossians 4:6) and to block unwholesome speech from our mouths (Ephesians 4:29).
There are many more verses, too, such as asking God to guard our mouth (Psalm 141:3), a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1), and letting our speech be acceptable to God (Psalm 19:14), along with scores more.
Focus on Silence Not Speech
Just because we can say something, doesn’t mean we should. We often celebrate a right to speak, that is, freedom of speech. We live in a world where much of it abuses their speech.
Social media overflows with people who proclaim opinions as fact and vilify those who disagree with them. The more outrageous they are, the better. The more adamant their pronouncements, the more that like-minded people celebrate them—and the more that they hurt others.
News sources do the same thing.
Next consider reality TV. It seeks those with outrageous behavior. The more shocking they are, the more airtime they receive. The rest of the entertainment industry follows, pushing the envelope with what many view as offensive behavior, treating outlier perspectives as normal.
The result is a polarization of society.
As followers of Jesus, we should avoid promoting division whenever possible. The easiest way to do this is to not add to the fray, but to keep our mouth shut. We should listen first and then speak (James 1:19)
Jesus modeled silence, even when it seemed in his best interest to defend himself (Matthew 26:63).
Speak the Truth in Love
If we feel we must speak out about a subject, we should cover our speech in love (Ephesians 4:15) but only after first praying and seeking insight from the Holy Spirit. Too often—especially in the church and religious circles—people decry evil, but they do so in the most unloving way.
We judge, we condemn, and we withhold forgiveness. Instead, Jesus tells us to do the opposite (Luke 6:37). The world is watching, and they rightly dismiss us as a result.
Following these three ideas can move us closer to becoming a peacemaker. We should guard what we say, exercise silence instead of pursuing freedom of speech, and when we must talk to speak the truth in love.
If we all did this, our world would be a much better place. And our witness for Jesus would have much greater impact.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
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