Larry Sheehy042212Listen to Larry Sheehy's latest column - 'Blessed are the Peacemakers'
Who is not interested in peace in life? Who doesn’t want calmness, serenity, quiet, stillness and tranquility to characterize each day? Everyone seems to want peace, but few find it easy to attain. Fewer still seem to have the ability to help others find this calmness and serenity in their lives.
In this seventh beatitude given at the beginning of the “Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaims a blessing on those willing to be peacemakers. As we meditate on Jesus’ words, an obvious question to ask concerns just what is involved in peace?
Dictionary definitions suggest that peace involves the absence of war or other hostilities, harmony in personal relations evidenced by freedom from quarrels and disagreement, and public security and order. Hopefully, peace will result in inner contentment.
Peace (Hebrew: shalom – “perfect welfare, happiness, prosperity”) involves the physical, spiritual welfare.
The Hebrew and Greek words translated “peace” occur 141 times in the Bible; the term is found in every book. Here are a few of them:
Jeremiah 6:14 — They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 8:15 — We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror.
Matthew10:34 — “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Mark 9:50 — “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Several Old Testament passages prophesied the peaceable nature of the Messianic kingdom. For example:
Isaiah 9:6 — “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 53:5 — “... the punishment that brought us peace was upon him ...”
Just who are the blessed “peacemakers” of this beatitude? Stating the perhaps painfully obvious, peacemakers are those who make peace. Some want peace, love peace, but are not peacemakers.
Thomas a Kempis suggested that “Everyone wants peace, but very few care for the things that produce it.”
Let’s conclude with a few salient points about this beatitude by Phil Ware, of Abilene, Texas:
“Deep in our hearts we know there is a tremendous difference between being a peace lover and a peace maker. Peace lovers like the calm and security and illusion of "giving peace a chance." But peace has no chance unless it is waged! Peace is not a state that results because of a lack of wars; peace is the result of work, character, and sacrifice of those who are peacemakers. They wage peace. They take risks; they forgive wrongs; and they compromise on personal demands without sacrificing personal integrity. They are willing to pay the price to make and preserve the peace with integrity. No wonder God calls such people his children; they're doing what is most like him!”
Jesus said that the peacemakers are blessed because “they will be called sons of God.” Sacrifices that are made by his followers to promote peace will be richly compensated. They are sons of God because: 1) Their God is a God of peace; 2) Their Savior is the Prince of peace; and 3) They preach the gospel of peace.
No lasting peace can be known outside of Jesus Christ. Are you at peace with God?