Chuck Foreman – Teaching / Missions Pastor
Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
We all long for peace—peace within ourselves and peace with others who matter to us. The thing we don’t usually think about is that we can’t have one without the other. Our English word “peace” doesn’t distinguish between inner, personal peace and inter-relational peace—peace with others. And there’s a difference. They are not the same! Here’s the unfortunate reality: inter-relational peace ALWAYS comes from personal, inner peace. Sooner or later, conflict between you and me (however minor it may be), will be the catalyst that brings all the unresolved woundedness in my life or your life to the surface. And there will be war! (Not that I have any unresolved woundedness in me. I’m sure it will all be in you! 🙂 )
We cannot be at peace with others unless we are at peace within ourselves.
Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul said, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
You can look at this verse from two angles:
(1) There are just some people with whom you are not going to be able to make peace. Or,
(2) It depends on and begins with you, if you are to be at peace with others.
Perhaps both are true.
The word for inter-relational peace, peace between ourselves and others, is the kind of peace Jesus is talking about in this 7th Beatitude. “Blessed are those who work for peace with others and between others, for they are the ones God will call his children.”
The question is—How much do we really do that? How willing are we to do that? The thing I’ve noticed about people is that those who actually work for peace, genuinely care about the quality of their relationships w/others—because they are truly at peace. They’ve made peace w/God & w/themselves.
Those who seem to be continually at odds with others have some deep woundedness within which they have not allowed anyone, including God, to touch and heal.
Check out God’s Story about Two Alienated Brothers—Jacob & Esau, Genesis 32-33
We see clearly illustrated here, the key ingredients for inter-relational peace.
- Jacob knew he had done Esau wrong and he intentionally humbled himself before his brother.
(Jacob’s approach, his gifts and posture toward Esau, was an act of contrition.)
- Esau removed all the bitterness toward Jacob from his heart and openly forgave his brother.
Just imagine how pleased God must have been on that day when he witnessed the reconciliation of these two brothers.
A couple of good life lessons also emerge from this story:
- The bitter heart destroys itself from within and is continually at war with others.
- The peaceful heart prospers in all its relationships and enjoys being called a child of God.
In many ways peace is a choice. It takes humility when we’ve wronged others and it takes a willingness to forgive when we’ve been wronged. If we hang onto either pride or bitterness, we will never experience inner peace and continually be at war with others. What are we going to choose?
Jesus was the ultimate Peacemaker. He made peace with God possible for us, which is where inner, personal peace begins. Check out these passages: Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:14-16
Our Peace, both inner & inter-relational, is so important to God that he was willing to die for us to make it so! How long will you hang on to what is destroying your peace?
Jesus is offering us all PEACE today, just as he wanted to give to Jerusalem on his final entry into the city (Luke 19:41-42). Will we accept it, or is it still hidden from our eyes?
Fortunate are you who remove all that is destroying you from your own heart
and allow God to replace it with his peace,
for then and only then will you be at peace with others.
Then you can experience the joy of being called a Child of God! 🙂