February 6th - peacemakers
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 (NKJV)
In 1873, there was a gun developed and sold by the Colt Fire Arms Manufacturing Company for $17. Historians have called it "The gun that won the west." The Colt single-action .45 caliber "Peacemaker" carried a lot of punch and was noted for its reliability. Much of the "frontier" of America was tamed and controlled by whoever had the most firepower. I guess that is one way to establish peace and maintain the rule of law; which had to be challenging in the wild west. When Jesus talked about peacemakers, He had something entirely different in mind.
Achieving peace is a lofty goal and a stiff challenge. Peace is antithetical to the species of man. Therein lies the problem. Different individuals have different ideas, goals and ethics; and these differences lead to conflict. The conflict may be a war of words--a war of ideas--or a war settled with actions of violence. This is what we should expect from humanity--we should not be naive thinking higher of our species than is warranted by our history. We like ourselves--we like our ideas--we like to be right--we like to fight; and above all else--we like to win.
One of the signs that should identify us as followers of Christ or "sons of God," is that we are people of peace. We are called to be people who make peace and keep the peace. This is one of the characteristics that set Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. apart from many of his contemporaries in his "fight" for civil rights. He used the weapon of peaceful demonstrations; he articulated his "arguments" with logic and sound-thinking; he preached a message of hope with a dream of a better future for all. He was a peacemaker.
We live in a time of great upheaval and unrest; but most of
human history is littered with such; this is just another verse of the same song. The determination that I must personally make is how can I be a peacemaker in my sphere of influence? How can I be a voice of reason in the midst of the chaos? How can I speak the truth in love without blowing up relationships? It is certainly a worthy challenge.
Author's Note: "What side are you on?" The question was posed forcefully. My answer? Jesus prayed that "we" would be one as He and the Father are one; Therefore, I can only conclude that there should not be such a thing as "sides" in the Body of Christ, at least not to the point of dividing us. I am still of that opinion--and I join with Christ's prayer. "Lord, make us one, and bind us together with bonds of peace that cannot be broken." RJD