Promoting Peace with the Prince of Peace
The seventh attitude that Jesus encouraged Christ-followers to emulate in Matthew 5:9 is peacemaking. He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. Jesus is saying that God will bless an individual who helps people experience peace with God and peace with others. A person who promotes peace for others must start by being at peace with God in their own spirit. Many preachers and teachers talk about peace, but a person who truly promotes peace must first experience and exemplify peace in their own life.
We live in a world of turmoil. Politically, our world is at odds. Tension is on the rise. Cultural tensions have made us fearful and brought division into our relationships. Anxiety has become the predominant issue of the day. We struggle with insecurity and inability to measure up to the high standards of society. The water level is rising, and people feel that they are drowning. So how do we find peace? Moreover, if we do not have peace in ourselves, how can we be peace promoters to others?
In a recent conversation with a friend, I was struck by the lack of peace in his life as he navigates circumstances that are egregious, unfair, and overwhelming. He said, “Right now, I just feel like punching something, specifically my pillow.” I was very thankful he said “pillow”, but too often, anger in people finds other more detrimental outlets. After listening to my friend for some time as he peeled back the layers of his emotional distress, I asked him if he wanted me to respond or just sit with him. In this case, we simply sat for a moment, and then he asked me for my thoughts. Sometimes being a peace promoter means we don’t have all the answers all the time. It also means recognizing that not everyone wants to hear what we think might “fix” their brokenness. Being a peace promoter does mean that we stop to listen, empathize, and do the right thing at that moment.
I admit that I am still learning how to be a peace promoter, but I have gathered a few ideas as I have tried to help people along the way. Peace must be present in my own life. Sometimes that means not listening to all the stories in the media. Sometimes it means playing the kind of music that will soothe my soul. Sometimes it means taking a walk to clear my head or going away to a quiet place to think. All the time, it means making sure I have started my day with my heart open to God. Having an open heart as I read His Word allows the Holy Spirit to give council to the cacophony of voices that often fill my head and put back into perspective the stories that are usually bigger in my mind than they are in reality. Then, I can bring peace to others.
Lord, Your word reminds me that You are the Prince of Peace. Real peace comes from having an ongoing relationship with You. Forgive me for getting caught up in life’s circumstances that draw me away from the gift of peace that You are to me. Calm my spirit today, and bring true peace into my heart. Amen.