Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Forest is Not One Tree

When I began to learn (and hesitantly practice) biblical peacemaking, I was stunned to see how often God opens ways out of intractable disputes.

I was so awed by my first encounter with Gods’ way of reconciling people that I didn’t fully appreciate that peacemaking grows in a forest composed of many majestic trees.

I began to recognize this deficiency when other Christians reacted in a guarded way to my advocacy of biblical peacemaking. Once I touted biblical peacemaking to a godly brother who responded,

“You mean that Matthew 18 stuff?”

A different response came from an elder of my church whom I admire:

“We have a lot of ministries; we can’t emphasize one ministry over others from the pulpit.”

At first I thought these brothers were discounting biblical peacemaking. I don’t think that now.

I think they felt uneasy about the way I seemed to push peacemaking out in front of other godly traits. In the Beatitudes Jesus outlined several:

Matthew 5:
2 And he [Jesus] opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I became convinced that becoming a peacemaker means progressing along a spiritual learning curve. Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones said of the “Beatitudes,”

“There is a definite progression in the thought; there is a logical sequence.”  [Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Ch. 9]
I see there is a progression by which God makes a peacemaker. Becoming an effective peacemaker involves God cultivating us to become the godly people Jesus described as “blessed.”  Therefore, a peacemaker should be poor in spirit, sorrowful over his or her own sins, meek, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, and willing to risk persecution. Wow!

Only Christ is the perfect peacemaker, but Christians who diligently seek Him will find Him. Finding Him, we can (and must) become peacemakers. Yes, there is more to it than “that Matthew 18 stuff.” However, we can do it if we believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.  (Hebrews 11:6)

No comments:

Post a Comment