Friday, April 10, 2009

What Does "Blessed Are the Peacemakers" Mean?

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." That's a pretty huge description for us! We might describe ourselves as Christians, as believers or as followers, but calling ourselves the children of God is huge. This is a term that we normally reserve for Jesus, but Jesus himself refers to us that way! Our natural inclination is to choose a language that keeps us further away from God, while Jesus chooses language that draws us closer. Jesus was saying that we were created to be more like him than we know.

This was a far more common language in Jesus' time, but not popular among Hebrews. All the Caesars of Rome were thought to be sons of God and were thought to someday become gods themselves. Because of the influence of ancient Greece, mythology brought with it the immortal men. The god Odin had a son Thor and Zeus had his son Apollos. Their understanding of God was a human mortal/human mix like Hercules. So, when Jesus provoked this language, there had to be a discomfort among them. The Hebrews believed in only one God and they considered any other claim as heresy.
Have you ever seen a film that was fantastic, but there was a surprise ending that blew you away? But the moment you saw it, you looked back and remembered all the clues and foreshadowing that were intentional but not obvious. No one was imagining back then that God would come down and take on the character of a man. This was, at the time, impossible or unthinkable to think of God being active in this way. But if you went back through time and studied the prophecies, it was almost obvious. Not only did Jesus show up claiming to be Jesus, but He then was telling us who we were supposed to be. If we truly knew we were sons of God or even cousins of God, how would we have used our power and influence? Jesus was telling us that this kind of power, the power reflecting the character of God, looked very different from what we would have normally thought. One of these characteristics was as a Peace maker.

When we think of having the power of God, we don't really go right to "peacemaker", do we? We would much prefer to have "The Three O's" of God:

1) Omnipotence - All powerful

2) Omniscience- All knowing

3) Omnipresence - Being everywhere at all times

But our call, in any part of life is to make peace. You'd think this would be easy, but it's not. We live in world filled with violence. There's violence in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Congo, in Angola and in New Mexico. There's oppression in India. There were officers killed in Oakland, New York and Detroit. Civilians are experiencing mass murders, violence, bitterness, vengeance, war and conflict. Jesus told us there would be wars and yet he tells us to "make" peace.

"In the category of 'making', I seem to be a savant", says Erwin. Some people can create in cooking with almost a natural instinct to prepare elaborate plates. Some can make cabinets or furniture literally from a tree. They can visualize it, put it on paper and create it straight from their minds.

A couple of weeks ago, Erwin was invited by a board member of an organization called DUB to meet him at a convention center for the "DUB Expo". There were hundreds of cars there; amazing cars that had been created or converted. They took a 600k Bentley, cut off the top and made it into a convertible. How can someone convert a pre-made car into art as they had done? It was incredible.

The common characteristic of people that make things is that there is something that someone can see in their minds and they can convert it to the outside and tangible world. See, when Jesus says "blessed are the peacemakers", he was probably not talking about the 6 steps to make peace. Likely, He was speaking to our inner beings where the vision of peace first exists. This is not a concept of what we do, but rather the notion of who we are; people who bring peace with them. Have you ever met someone who brings conflict with them? In their mind, everyone is a fighter, while most people in the room are just victims to their aura! Have you ever met someone who brings stress everywhere with them? These are people can stress you out because it is part of their essence and makes you feel stressed.

We are supposed bring peace with us. There's a BIG difference between peacekeepers and peacemakers. Some people simply avoid conflict and call that peace. But more often than not the problem gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It can get to the point where, if we don't face the conflict, it will face us. It can also become a much larger problem than if we had dealt with the initial conflict. These people think that if we can get everyone to not fight, we have peace. We think that if we have a world of no conflict, that would be the secret to peace. But the truth is the world is a world of conflict.

There are 3 areas where peace and conflict always seem to come to a boil,

1) Economic and financial - Seventy percent of divorces are economically motivated. When money is involved, most of the time conflict arises. The scriptures even say let there be no lending or borrowing of funds.

In junior high, Erwin, his brother and a friend started a company, the Road Runner Lawn Mowing Company. They negotiated, bartered, kept accounts and really had it moving. But the day came when all equipment was paid for and they were winding down the business. After all the money was divvied up, there was a penny left on the table which the friend said was his. Erwin and his brother chided that they were 2/3's owner of the penny as well so it would stay on the table, but the friend seemed adamant that the penny was his. Erwin's mother urged them to give up the penny, but suddenly they found themselves in a conflict simply over the principle. The friend went home mad, told his dad, who then sent the friend back to get it!! Determined, the friend came back and there was this great divide over something as trite as a penny. "I'll never forget it."

2) Human and interpersonal relationships - "Ninety nine percent of all conversations that I've ever had that were in the category of counseling were in the area of interpersonal relationships" You don't see people getting divorces over understanding of scripture. Rather, we spend so much time arguing over little things, which can lead to a life of regret. We focus, not on things that save our lives like scripture, but things that can cause conflict. If we want to be sons and daughters of God, we should do everything possible to maintain PEACE. We have to go to bed knowing we've done what we can to do for the day. We have to go to bed knowing we were able to surrender to our need to win in order to pursue the greater good.

3) Inner peace - There was great stress, frustration, chaos and anger in the area to which Jesus was a speaking regarding peace. "I am astonished at the condition we are in. We are the most educated, affluent free people that the world's history has ever known and yet we have runaway depression and a culture of medication. Dysfunction has become the natural language of our society." Erwin hears about people that have been depressed for 20 years and they're 21 years old! Others can't get out of bed or have suicidal thoughts.

Erwin was sitting at a "celebrate recovery" table at an event for Mosaic and he was smiling thinking that this part of Mosaic's ministry was the fastest growing one. But there was a moment where it struck Erwin that this wasn't something that should be celebrated, because people were falling apart! Do we live with voids of inner peace? People can be paralyzed with stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and doubt. Here we are talking about what God can do in our lives. It's like we have Jesus sketched on our skin but it He doesn't seem to be able to sink into our inner soul

In the book of Isaiah, Jesus is described and the "Prince of Peace". Maybe we need to refocus on scripture to know that He will give inner peace to the person who will follow Him. Economic and financial chaos as well as interpersonal relationship stress can simply be systematic results of a lack of our inner peace. We should understand that making peace is a work of art that comes from the soul. But to make peace, we have to have peace. Logically, we should have the Prince of Peace and allow Jesus to bring peace to our souls.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All posts/questions/comments/links encouraged and welcome!