This is Part-2 out of a three-part series on the Easter celebration this year.
Man: You are Called to be a Peacemaker!
Conflict and division all around. Where are the peacemakers?
The Covid-19 pandemic has produced a laundry pile of mess. It’s as if the world has vomited brokenness everywhere. From ethnic divisions that exacerbated existing pre-existing wounds, settlers and indigenous to health mandates that split families and churches into vax and anti-vax camps; there is no one untouched by the destruction of peace we have experienced in the last two years.
Every person has a simple desire to sit undisturbed under their own vine (Micah 4:4), and yet many are quaking and shivering in the open wilderness of fear, anger, woundedness, and mistrust. Shalom – the biblical vision of God’s best for all – seems far from us.
Russia is invading Ukraine. The potential of World War III is no longer just for the movies. Destructive evil is fomented by fake news that destroys not just nation-states, but relationships within families. A man living in besieged Kiev and seeking solace from his father in Russia heard instead that reports of the war were not true. The son mourns, “My own father does not believe me, knowing that I’m here and see everything with my own eyes.” A political conflict turns parent against child. The mournful plea of the Hebrew prophet Malachi echoes, “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6). Total destruction seems mournfully probable.
Where are the peacemakers?
Even the poets are crooning for a different way. Country music songwriters Tyler Hubbard and Chris Loocke began 2021 with this plea,
I think it’s time to come together
You and I can make a change
Maybe we can make a difference
Make the world a better place
Look around and love somebody
We’ve been hateful long enough
Let the Good Lord reunite us
‘Til this country that we love’s
Undivided (oh yeah)
Undivided, oh yeah
We’re all the same to God
No matter what we get His love
I’m tired of lookin’ left or right
So I’m just lookin’ up
Who will help the families, neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, cities and nations find this undivided way of life? Who will lead people to God’s shalom – his wholeness and peace? Who knows the way to the mountain of the Lord where peoples beat swords to plowshares (Micah 4:3)?
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Men, you who have come home to the reconciling Father through Jesus Christ; you are the peacemaker!
Peace-making has been downgraded to peace-keeping (like a referee breaking up a hockey fight) on the one hand or, on the other hand, to wimpy conflict-avoidance (like just not talking about “it” to avoid the elephant in the room). In either case, we’re simply driving down the wound and delaying the inevitable explosion. This is not the vision of God. God’s vision is right relationships, friendship, partnership, and what is best for human beings seeking a vine to tend and rest under. The peace God seeks to make is not just internally spiritual or for the sweet-by-and-by, but for you and your neighbor, you and your sibling, and for the people in your city and even between nations. For this to happen, the peacemakers need to get busy acting like their Heavenly Father!
Peacemakers are sons of God, after all, peacemaking is what God has done. Furthermore, peacemaking is costly, sacrificial, and requires humility and taking up your cross and the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. It requires listening, offering grace, personal confession, and transformation. It requires abiding in relationship with our Father first and foremost and not simply drinking from the well of our favorite podcast, aimlessly following the algorithms, or commiserating only with people who think just like we do. Peacemaking requires courage, guts, fortitude, and learning to walk in the footsteps of Jesus who made peace through his own scourged and crucified flesh (Ephesians 2:14).
The world, so shaken by conflicts right now that are both massively global in scope and as small as the relationship between a parent and child, husband and wife, boss and employee, is desperate for peace.
Where are the peacemakers? They are the children of God. Man of God, they are you!