Being a peacemaker is more profound than simply being skilled at ending arguments. Our peacemaking is working against the corruption and conflict that pervade this world. In this sermon, Greg shows us how the cycle of conflict and how we can live in a way that breaks the cycle.
Peacemakers are often thought of as people who are skilled at ending arguments. And while this is a good skill, being a peacemaker is much more profound. Jesus doesn’t tell us to make peace; he calls us peacemakers. Inherent in our Kingdom DNA is being peaceful creatures. We stand at odds with the world that is full of conflict, and we bring peace not because we act peaceful but because we are children of God.
An ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, said “War is father of all, king of all. Some it makes gods, some it makes men, some it makes slaves, some free.” He was saying that war and conflict were the most important things in creation. As Christians, we see the effect of the corrupted world the same way Heraclitus did, but we don’t agree with the principle of it. Jesus is our King and God our Father, and we know that peace is the way to freedom.
Conflict permeates all of creation, but God did not design it that way. In fact, our fallen nature caused creation to be subjected to futility, which in Greek means depravity and frailty. This means noting works quite right and everything decays. We see that everyday as our bodies grow older and the headlines grow bolder. This world is full of futility and depravity. And if we didn’t have Jesus, this world would look very bleak indeed.
Jesus’ work on the cross created peace in the middle of this creation full of conflict. And Jesus’ work fixed the corruption, in principle. While we don’t see it right now, this conflict of good vs. evil has been decided in favor of good. Jesus’ work on the cross destroyed the work of Satan, and while we don’t see its fullness now, we will one day.
So, when we are faced with situations full of conflict, we should react with the peace and grace of Jesus so that we don’t perpetuate the cycle of conflict. The cycle of violence continues when we try to avenge ourselves when we get hurt. But, by avenging ourselves, we create hurt in the other person. The cycle continues until we destroy one another. Jesus says, instead of trying to avenge yourself, create peace through forgiveness and humility. When we do this, we exhibit the child-like faith that God wants to see from us.
Being a peacemaker means that we are children of God. To be a child, we must act like the parent. And when we face persecution and conflict, we should react as Jesus did. Jesus could have avenged himself, and he could have defended himself. But he chose not to because he knew that wouldn’t solve the problems of this world. He offered up his life for something more important than his life. We are called to do the same. To share peace instead of creating conflict, we act like Jesus and look like a child of God.
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