“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
In this political season, this will be an interesting post. I am not trying to stir the pot, but let’s be honest: Peacemaking is not a value in our culture. But it is a value in God’s culture. So in order to be a peacemaker, it is inevitable that we must, at some level, fly in the face of our culture.
Our culture values rights and fairness. And whatever you do, don’t offend me. The “P.C.” culture we are a part of has created a system where we are too easily offended. We look for reasons that others are against us.
There is an evil ogre in our culture. It is simply the statement, “You offended me.” I had the funniest conversation this weekend as a lady walked up to me (keep in mind that I have never seen her before in my life) and opened with, “I have two critiques of your sermon. You offended me.”
The irony is that she had on a T-shirt saying, “I didn’t mean to offend you. That was just a bonus.” I almost took a selfie with her to post on Instagram. I would have made sure to get her T-shirt in the picture, and it would have been awesome.
Anytime someone is put in the situation I was put in by this weird set of circumstances, they have a few options as to how they will respond. My initial impulse was to defend myself and show how everything she said was totally unfounded (which it was).
This impulse is at the root of all kinds of statements I make about my God without ever actually bringing God up. Do I need to fight for myself, or does God have me covered in every circumstance? Would God be upset, or would He love her right where she’s at? Do I represent myself, or am I putting my God on display?
One of the more famous passages in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13 — the love passage. “Love is patient, love is kind…” You’ve heard it before. One of the statements in that passage goes something like this, depending on your version: “Love is not easily provoked.” At the root of this word, provoked means being offended. In fact, an equally accurate translation of this phrase would be that love doesn’t take up offense.
God is love. And when we love well, we represent God well. But in order to love well, we cannot spend our lives taking up offenses. Whether those offenses are ours or someone else’s, we cannot own them and feed them. They wind up being like a monster; when we feed it, the monster grows to something all-consuming. When we starve the “offense monster,” it dies.
Being a peacemaker is much more than choosing not to fight. When we choose to make peace rather than taking up offense, we put our God on display in a way that is not only accurate, but inspiring. If we are accurate but not inspiring, we show a God in truth, but I don’t want to have anything to do with Him. If God is inspiring but not accurate, then the whole notion of Him falls apart very quickly.
Peacemakers show God as both, and they are called children of God. It is almost as if, when we take up offenses and try to defend ourselves, we don’t really know how much our Father loves us and has our best interests in His heart. When we trust Him, we have no reason to be offended in the first place. Peacemaking then becomes a byproduct of a posture of the heart that was decided long before the situation itself surfaced.
May you be confident in who your Father is. May you rest in His love. May you lay offense aside and take up peace. May you represent your Father and your family well. And may you be a child of God.