18th June 2011

Peace Be With You

The seventh in the series on The Beatitudes 

“Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.”
Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

A few years ago, when my children were toddlers, there was some sort of war going on between the one who had thought he was the only child and the one who was determined to establish equal rights. I couldn’t seem to teach them to negotiate any lasting truce, and sometimes it looked as if continual refereeing between the two might be safer than allowing them opportunity to work out a relationship together.

One day, after the usual sounds of altercation from the next room, one of them came through to me and started singing about how he loved me and felt happy with me, but this time I wasn’t playing. “I do love you,” I said, “but I’ve got two children, and one of them is crying, so I’m not OK. I can’t be OK because one of my children is crying, and you can do something about it.”

For a moment, his face registered, “Filing new information; revising previous assumptions,” and he did something about it, and that was when things started to improve.

Settle your differences, Jesus tells us (Matthew 5:25)—even to your own disadvantage, Paul later suggests (I Corinthians 6:7). In the context of how dangerous it is to let anger fester to hatred and contempt, Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).

Conflict must be put to rest, but peace goes further still. There were two people in the Old Testament who were supposed to be enemies: one was the natural heir to the throne of Israel, and the other had been anointed to succeed to the throne in his stead. And yet they invoked God himself in a vow of friendship that went way beyond the absence of conflict: “God will be the bond between me and you…forever” (I Samuel 20:42 MSG).

To use similar terms, Christians are bound together by the love and the peace of God, regardless of our natural circumstances. “Peace I leave with you;” Jesus promised; “my peace I give you.” (John 14:27). Jesus has been here, in amongst unfairness and conflict.  God the Spirit is here now; there is peace, if we choose it, and God can then call us his children, blessed with wholeness in relationship with him.

I pray that the Lord will stand between us to give us the peace of the Son of God.

Study by Fiona Jones

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