When my oldest was a toddler, he thought raisins were “Candy.” He thought tomato soup was “Red Hot Soup” and baked beans were “Cowboy Beans.” I renamed all of the above to make them more palatable because I needed him to eat! Well, I need, you need, we all need more “fruit” in our spiritual diet right now — more peace and kindness in particular. How perfect that my CBS friend, Petra Barrientos, has written a reflection on peace that doesn’t need any repackaging, because it’s so good. Follow it with a heaping helping of kindness served up in a recent radio interview with Biola University President, Barry Corey, titled, “Using Kindness To Open Doors In The Culture.” Listen here:
There are a lot of pieces to peace and the Bible strings them together like pearls, one more beautiful that the one before:
“A peacemaker is someone who experiences the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) because he is at peace (Romans 5:1) with the God of peace (Philippians 4:9) through the Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), who, indeed, is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and who therefore seeks to live at peace with all others (Romans 12:18) and proclaims the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) so that others might have joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13)”. (Compiled by Dustin S., found on desiringGod.org)
There seem to be two components to this peace: one is the peace I get from faith and the other is the peace I strive for with my neighbor. Peace is a bridge, a bridge from me to God and a bridge from me to you. Looking at it that way, it makes perfect sense that Jesus would include the peacemaker in His Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Christmas has come and gone, 2017 has started – and being a peacemaker is my new year’s resolution. It is also an act of obedience… two birds with one stone, how very efficient of me. I know that this won’t be easy. Everything worth having in life requires hard work and sacrifice, blessings included.
Being a peacemaker is personal. It is the time-consuming, tedious, repetitious work of a bridge-builder. It is also risky and potentially hurtful and often thankless, regardless of whether I am one of the feuding parties or a bystander trying to step in. A few months ago I slipped and landed smack between two fighting dogs. Coming eye to eye with the flashing teeth of two snarling, growling, attacking dogs is the perfect image of what my new year’s resolution may get me into. At the end of the day, we all love a good fight and nothing is more upsetting than a seemingly self-righteous do-gooder who won’t take your side and tries to make peace instead.