by Rob Furlong
You don’t have to look very far in our world today to see how lacking we are in peace and peacemakers.
Right now, as you read this, there are 22 wars being waged around the world, on five separate continents, resulting in the deaths of 120,151 people in 2022 alone. Some of these conflicts have been going on for decades.
Closer to home, many of us have no peace in our personal lives or relationships. Perhaps a friend at school has turned against you or you are no longer speaking to a relative because of an argument neither of you can resolve.
Many people perpetually live their lives with a profound sense of deep sadness, emotional hurt and estrangement from God and people.
Whether it be in our world, or our personal lives, more than ever we need to experience and practice what Jesus taught about peace and being a peacemaker.
Through His life and teaching, Jesus brought “peace on earth” – and He showed how peace in our relationships with God and others can be a reality in our lives and our world.
Last month I spoke about being a peacemaker and I suggested that one way you could do this was by committing yourself to the “Peace Declaration” I had written. Because I want peace to be more than just a nice sentiment on a piece of paper, I am going to focus on the theme of peace this year.
How can we have peace with God?
How can we experience peace in our relationships with others and how can we actively promote peace in them?
You see, I want you to know God’s peace deep in your soul.
Being a peacemaker begins with me.
What this means is, if I’m serious about being a peacemaker with others and the world, then I must begin by making peace with God.
People who have peace with God are described by Jesus as being “Blessed” people – people who are aware of their need before God – and who demonstrate the following characteristics:
• They know they are spiritually bankrupt. To be “poor in spirit” means they know their attitude toward God doesn’t measure up and their relationship with Him is broken. As a result, they turn to God and ask Him for His mercy.
• They grieve over their sin. They “mourn” and are in deep grief over the blackness of their own sin against God, as well as the sins of the world.
• They are dependent on God. When Jesus describes blessed people as being “meek”, He is not calling them weak. A meek person is someone who knows they are strong, but God is stronger. Instead of living life in their own strength, they choose to live in dependence on God. A meek person submits themselves completely to God and His care.
• They long for a righteousness they don’t have. Blessed people want to be like God. They know they are not good in themselves, so they ask God to fill them with His goodness.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
When a person realizes their sin has broken their relationship with God and there is nothing they can do to repair it; when they confess their sin to God, ask for His forgiveness and rely only on the death and resurrection of Jesus to bring this about – that person has peace with God.
God’s promise to you is that His Son, Jesus, can bring peace to your life and your relationships, and you can be a peacemaker in our world.
God offers us peace in exchange for our anger, resentments, and fears – He offers you His peace, freely, today.
Blessed are those who realize their need of God because that is the beginning of peace in their lives.