“I tell you the truth…” Matthew 5:26
In His sermon on the mount, the Master-Teacher was revealing both the power and enduring quality of The Law. The power of the law is necessary to expose sin and reign it in, while the enduring quality of The Law – God’s Law – will forever be sustained from heaven, and is, therefore, reliable, accurate, and lasting. Jesus directed those who were listening to control their anger and settle arguments before offering one’s worship to God. (vv. 21-24) By resolving conflict quickly, one is less likely to see it escalate to the point of legal action. Jesus advised:
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. ITYTT, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (vv. 25-26)
There is an eternal truth revealed in His words: peacemaking is both prudent and practical. The prudence in making peace is found in the wisdom of handling one’s God-given emotions in a way that please Him, thus acting as a witness to an unbelieving world. Jesus provided a real-life example of His earlier lesson from The Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (v.9)
Peacemaking, then, like love, is a signature of authentic ‘followship’ of Christ, and therefore, should be a primary focus by the church in our spiritual warfare. When we are able to build bridges and make peace, we are tearing down strongholds of strife, bitterness, and anger. Peacemaking is not a pursuit of weaklings. On the contrary, peacemakers exhibit great strength in their perseverance and ability to de-escalate a volatile situation.
In the church, peacemaking and peacekeeping are ways we exhibit our love to one another and before those who learn from the example of Christ-followers. Jesus provided the ultimate example as Heaven’s Peacemaker:
“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)
It is through the power of Christ that we are able to overcome those things which seek to separate people and keep people apart. Paul described it this way:
“For He Himself is our peace, Who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”
The peace Christ offers bridges the hostilities between races, classes of people, education level, and between the sexes. Once reconciled to God, we are to be reconciled to each other – pursuing peace through the mutual bonds of love. We are given the same mission Christ fulfilled in His death: we are to become ‘reconcilers’. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; 1 Peter 3:10-11)
Peacemaking is practical, too. Jesus described the waste of time and life when one is immobilized through the restraints of prison. The one who pays, pays in two ways: materially, which one may be able to replenish over time; and ‘experientially’, which one is never able to recapture. Jesus shows the value of earthly time… the priceless gift of life which would be wasted by one’s stubborn refusal to seek peace.
We each are blessed with but one life. That life is not guaranteed a length or quality, nevertheless, it is the life given each of us. What we do with that life is our gift to each other and to God.
Seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
Have a blessed day…