Peacemakers (Matthew 5:9)

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This past week reflects the world’s need for peace.

–       In Charlottesville, VA and UVA there were protests and counter-protests of white nationalism. Sad over this disturbing and depraved acts of hate and violence.

–       The back and forth rhetoric of war has increased between U.S. (Trump) and N.K. (Kim Jong Un). NK is believed to have capability to mount a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Kim is an evil, unreasonable, foolish dictator who will stop at nothing to garner attention. He has threatened attacks on the U.S., specifically the territory of Guam. And in response, Trump – who has issues of self-aggrandizing – promised “fire and fury like the world have never seen” on N.K. if they attack the U.S.

It has been noted that the U.S. has only had 21 years of peace without war in its entire history as a nation[1] and another source claims the world’s human history has only been at peace 8% of time.[2]

World peace shouldn’t just be the desire of beauty queens. Unfortunately, we live in a world of racism, terrorism, insurgencies and uprisings, national conflict and war, and that’s just on the global scale. Relational differences and drama exist in the world with reality television and Hollywood entertainment. Even athletic conflict appears entertaining until we realize players of our fan team get hurt and injured. Consider hockey players punching each other, baseball pitchers beaning opposing team players with fastballs, not to mention the world of MMA.

Too often, peace appears uninteresting and unproductive. Peace doesn’t sell movies or spur excitement. Sometimes it seems like we gain more through raising voices and displaying power. Raising Cain is a phrase that describes producing violence to gain attention, like the biblical character who killed his brother. The idea of resistance and riots is that views are only heard through demonstrations, disturbance, and revolt.

Today’s message will explore the 7th Beatitude Rogue Living sermon logo 1

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons (children) of God.”

EXAMINE

Beatitudes

–        Plan of God: μακάριος (makarios) shows the Beatitudes as the path of God’s blessing.

–        Presence of faith: The Beatitudes indicate faith is already present. There are no commands but only statements in the Beatitudes. Therefore, Jesus is telling us if these are present and progressing in your life then faith is present; if not then faith is absent.

–        Process and flow: We have noted a flow from inward to outward focus on the Beatitudes. This is the last beatitude before persecution, which the latter seems to be an implication of following all the beatitudes. Perhaps the fact that peacemaking is towards the end – and the seventh beatitude – is emphasizing its importance to God.

 

εἰρηνοποιός (eirenepoios): peacemaker

–        εἰρήνη (eirene): peace, rest, quietness.
–        ποιέω (poieo) is second half of word, which means to do, make, bring forth.
–        ‏שָׁלוֹם‎ (shalom): fullness of peace; so not just absence of problems but presence of God’s blessings.

Peacemakers are not just peaceable people or even peace-keepers, but makers of peace.

–        Avoiding: not discussing conflict, but working around issues rather than through them. However, ignoring or escaping conflict is fantasy land; it’s not real life. Besides unresolved conflict only builds into greater burdens.

–        Appeasing: always conceding and giving in; becoming a doormat. The feeling like we have to please everyone will always leave us empty, because it’s impossible and conflict is inevitable. We must realize conflict is actually healthy and helpful for communicating truth and clarifying expectations, and catalyzing deeper growth and harmony.

–        Annihilation: discouraging or destroying those who disagree with you. However, removing people who don’t think like you is not a strength but is dictatorship. Unity is not uniformity; diversity can be a wonderful sign of health and growth.

o   In fact, be very careful of relationships – or even churches – that don’t have any conflict.
matthew 5_9

Peacemakers are those who bring peace to circumstances and relationships because they inwardly possess peace; what fills a person’s heart and life will funnel outward.

Peacemaker – The world needs people filled with peace who are peacemakers in society.

–        People who solve problems!

–        People who harmonize families, relationships!

–        People who restore broken relationships!

–        People who unite communities, organizations, and nations!

So, how can we become peacemakers?

{For memory purposes, each principle will start with a vowel letter: A-E-I-O-U}

 

Admit our own faults and sin.

Peacemakers are not perfect. They have poverty of spirit, recognizing their need of God and gladly rely on His grace and wisdom. Peacemakers mourn and are heartbroken over their own sin; they do not view themselves as better than anyone else; they are meek. Their only righteousness comes from their hunger and thirst for more of Jesus. Peacemakers understand the magnitude of mercy they have received from God and freely extend grace and forgiveness to others. Peacemakers are pure in heart because life they know life isn’t about them but about God and His glory. Peacemakers make peace by getting into the messiness of people’s lives and doing the hard work of love, reconciliation, and prayer.

Jesus said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).

–        Even if it’s 99% the other person’s fault, own your 1%.

o   Husband with wife who had shoebox since beginning of marriage. Husband never looked in until wife’s dying. She revealed her gma told her to avoid fighting with her husband she should crochet a doll. In the box were only 2 dolls and $100K. The husband seemed proud there were seemingly only 2 significant conflicts with his wife, but asked about the money. She responded that over the 50 years of marriage that’s the amount of money she earned selling the crochet dolls for $1.

–        Be specific with your sin. When we take our own sin seriously, people will receive our accountability for their sin with greater reflection and response.

–        “Love the sinner, hate the sin” is better said like “Love the sinner, hate my own sin, point to Jesus”

–        Scripture

o   Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

o   Galatians 6:1 “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted… if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

o   1Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching…”

Empathize with others.

Jesus knew that peacemaking was different and counter-cultural. The Jews thought peace could only come through a revolution army to conquer with physical power. But Jesus lived and taught that peace and conversion doesn’t come through force but faith. Jesus’ teaching on the SOM reflects just how unique and radical peacemaking was to their ears.

Jesus said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Notice that Jesus speaks of offended and offending persons as family – “brother”. When we can learn to see an opposing or offending side as people who are made in God’s image, who have hurts and hopes like the rest of us, then we experience empathy. Peacemakers attack problems not people. Therefore, empathy endears us to one another and facilitates us on the path toward peacemaking.

Notice also that Jesus calls us to empathize with urgency. Peacemakers take initiative with the first move to resolve problems and reconcile relationships. The only way to resolve conflict is to confront it. But, one of the reasons we fail to confront conflict is fear.

–        Illus: A grown man – even a marine – can shake in fear at the words of a woman “we need to talk.”

–        FEAR acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. We fear unknowns and uncertainties, but God calls us to conquer fear with faith, trusting Him to go before us in every conflict circumstance.

–        Scripture

o   Psalm 34:14 “seek peace, and pursue it”

o   Romans 12:16, 18 “Live in harmony with one another… If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

o   Romans 14:17, 19 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit… So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

o   2Tim 2:22 “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

o   Hebrews 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

Another teaching of Jesus

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:38-45)

è Do you have friends

o   Not Christian?

o   on the opposite side of the political aisle?

o   Different ethnicity?

o   Different social class?

è Listen, learn, love… then lead people to Jesus. This process is more sustainable and effective.

Identify the issue of conflict.

Peacemakers are slow to speak and quick to hear (James 1:19). They listen to learn how to lead resolution and reconciliation. One of the biggest challenges of conflict is when people argue over the “presenting issue” when the problems are much deeper and rooted in another area. Defining the issue of conflict is extremely important for peacemaking.

ILLUSTRATION – SevernaPark vs Pasadena Handling Conflict
There was once a man from SP and another from Pasadena who lived on the border next to each other. The Pasadena man owned a hen and each morning would look in his garden and pick up one of his hens eggs for breakfast. One day he looked into his garden and saw that the hen had laid an egg in the SP man’s garden. He was about to go next door when he saw the Pasadena man pick up the egg. The Pasadena man ran up to the SP man and told him that the egg belonged to him because he owned the hen. The SP man disagreed because the egg was laid on his property. They argued for a while until finally the Pasadena man said “In my family we normally solve disputes by seeing who has the toughest kick in the shin. The first person kicks the other person in the shin and times how long it takes the other person to get up. We repeat it both ways and whomever gets up quicker wins the egg.” The SP man agreed to this and so the Pasadena man found his heaviest pair of boots and put them on, he took a few steps back, then ran toward the SP man and kicked as hard as he could in the shin. The SP man fell to the ground, holding his shin and howling in agony for 30 minutes. Eventually the SP man stood up and said “Now it’s my turn to kick you.” The Pasadena man said “Keep the egg.”

– – – – – This is not how to handle conflict!

Scripture

–        Speak/Act Gently Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Proverbs 13:16 “the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.”

Proverbs 14:29 “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.”

Proverbs 18:2, 13 “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion… If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

Proverbs 24:28 “Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause”

–        Pray for wisdom Proverbs 20:5 “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

–        Spend time with people

Proverbs 27:23 “Know well the condition of your flocks and give attention to your herds.”

Offer the gospel

Peacemakers know the gospel is our only basis and hope for peace and reconciliation (Isa 53:5; Rom 5:1; Eph 2:14; Col 1:2). Jesus faced His enemies with weapons that were stripes on His back, scars in His hands, and love on His face. Forgiveness comes from the One who can forgive. Healing comes from the Healer. True peacemaking is not just making peace horizontally, but introducing people to the Savior.

And Jesus sends His church not to be passive but active peacemakers.

–        John 20:21 “Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

–        Acts 9:31 “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”

–        Acts 10:36 [The church was] “preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ”

–           2Corinthians 5:18, 20 “Christ gave us the ministry of reconciliation… Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ”

Unite with the Prince of Peace and people of peace 

We cannot make ourselves peacemakers, and we cannot pass on what we do not possess. Peace comes through personally knowing Christ and allowing His life to be shared through your life. The more we walk with Jesus, the more peace is instilled in our life. And that becomes contagious for others.

–           Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

–        Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

 

APPLY/THINK

Isaiah 57:21 “There is no peace for the wicked”

peace is not the absence of conflict but bringing presence of Christ into all circumstances.

Numbers 6:26

Matthew 59 [widescreen]

 

[1] http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-has-been-at-war-93-of-the-time-222-out-of-239-years-since-1776/5565946

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/books/chapters/what-every-person-should-know-about-war.html

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