The following post was written by guest writer Brent Crowe.
Our headlines showcase a never-ending contentious environment. Every public issue is accompanied by an us versus them mentality. Justice is used as a political bargaining chip. In a world of division, boycotts, and seemingly every issue being politicized, I can’t help but wonder if God is eagerly waiting to applaud the peacemakers. And with each passing day, I wonder if he waits still. Our culture could benefit from a few more peacemakers.
Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) As sons and daughters of God, we are to be ambassadors for peace as we reflect His heart for the world.
A peacemaker lives differently:
A peacemaker chooses love instead of choosing a side.
A peacemaker seeks reconciliation rather than revenge.
A peacemaker offers humble service to all instead of slander toward perceived enemies.
A peacemaker pursues everything which constitutes the highest good for mankind.
To be clear, this isn’t a passive, sit-around-and-do-nothing version of Christianity. To be a peacemaker, one must be willing to get in the middle of conflict and not be overcome by it. Peacemakers engage, struggle, and persist, so that each day they can attest to a better way, a higher good. Peacemakers express God’s desires for his creation. To unite the divided is to take part in the mission of God.
God’s children understand that theirs is a gospel of peace. Because God made it possible for us to reconcile with him, it is now imaginable that enemies can be reconciled on Earth. Maybe what many of us in the church need is a revival of imagination. We need to reopen the doors of possibility that have been closed and kept shut by pessimistic thinking.
A man known as Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) had a profound impact on the church in the thirteenth century. Many close to him said that he lived out the words Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount more so than any other person. The following ‘Peace Prayer’ has been attributed to St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
Oh, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life!
Our world needs a new breed of thinkers: people who are ever aware of God’s grace in their lives yet believe that with Christ all things are possible. Those who dare to dream something new that others deem ridiculously unfeasible. The world needs people enthralled with possibility, driven by an optimistic realism rarely seen in the average bystander. Those whose very existence seems to rumor that there is a better way, and maybe, even a better world.
And lest we forget, those blessed few who actively seek peace “will be called the children of God.” These are the ones who utilize all the influence they have to build a bridge between adversaries. They are those who believe “love fulfills the requirements of God’s law” and therefore lives a sermon that is louder than anything that has ever been echoed off the church house walls.
Brent Crowe is Vice President of Student Leadership University, a Christian program which awakens student potential and equips young people for leadership. His latest book is Moments ‘til Midnight. The student Bible study is now available!