Read Matthew 5:9. In the kind of world we live in, how do we do what Jesus says here? Ultimately, how successful can we be? See Mark 13:7.
Violent conflict is a significant cause of suffering. Included in the costs of war are the direct victims and shattered lives, the attention and resources devoted to military machinery that would be better diverted to alleviating other human needs and the ongoing suffering of war survivors and veterans, even among the “victors”. Then there are the many smaller conflicts that scar countless lives in families and communities. As such, a passion for justice cannot ignore the mandate to peacemaking.
At the heart of the gospel of Jesus is God’s gracious and grand act of peacemaking, reconciling sinful human beings to their Creator (see 2 Cor. 5:18-21). And the reconciliation we receive becomes the pattern for us to be “ambassadors” for this reconciliation for others, as well.
Read Isaiah 52:7. How do we live out this text too?
The gospel of peace also becomes the motivation, pattern, and resource for working for peace in our violent world: “The heart that is in harmony with God is a partaker of the peace of heaven and will diffuse its blessed influence on all around. The spirit of peace will rest like dew upon hearts weary and troubled with worldly strife”. – Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 28.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9, NIV). Taking this further, not only did He affirm the commandment against killing, He said we should not be angry or hold a grudge (see Matt. 5:21-26) and that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (see Matt. 5:43-48), meaning that we should take active steps to seek their good. There are many inspiring stories of people who have devoted their lives to peacemaking in world trouble spots, bringing glimpses of reconciliation and healing, and often alleviating much of the injustice and suffering these conflicts have brought.
|What are ways that your local church, at its local level, could act in the role of peacemaker?|