Are you a peacemaker?
By Rev. Robert Ramphal, Oster First Covenant Church, Waverly
In the gospel of Matthew, in verse nine of chapter five, we read, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
This verse of Scripture is one of the most important pieces of scripture in Christendom. These were the words of Jesus to all his followers. He recognized man’s need to live in harmony and peace with his neighbor and God.
As we look at what is happening around the world, we find ourselves wondering how peace among the nations can be established, and how we can go about accepting each other in spite of our differences.
We have seen many peace treaties written by many nations with good intentions that have fallen apart. The United Nations was formed to enable countries that were fighting with their neighbors to seek resolution within this organization. Yet, with all its influence and global importance, this organization has not been able, to a great extent, to bring about peace in our world.
We have people giving and breaking their word to live in peace. We have seen conditions placed on peace, and endless negotiations go on for years, while countless people die, and nations continue to suffer.
Somehow, the will to seek peace is not sustaining. We find ourselves weak and fickle, and lack the strength to persevere. Our words, oral and written, become futile and we lack believability.
If we look back in history, we will find that we are no different than our predecessors. However, this is not to suggest that we should not try to seek peace.
We already know how to write peace treaties, how to establish respect for other people or nations, and how to speak in reconciliatory ways. Our biggest problem, throughout the past and present, is how to honor what we write and say. We need to mean what we say and say what we mean in clear and understandable language.
This is where Christ comes in. He teaches his followers that in order to follow him, they must truly believe in him and his Father. He even went a step further and said that when you are one of his, and you are tempted to break your word or lie, or when you do not know what to say in difficult times, God will enable you, through his Holy Spirit, to carry out your duty to him and your neighbor. You will be empowered to fulfill and honor your word.
We can talk about peace in Iraq and other parts of the world, but unless we have the empowerment of God through his Holy Spirit, we will not succeed in our endeavor to bring about peace. We may achieve some peace through our secular institutions, such as the United Nations, but that peace will not be lasting unless it comes through the power of God.
It is the responsibility and duty of every Christian to seek peace and to love our enemies. This is why we have to be very careful of how we speak of others with whom we disagree. We have to safeguard our souls, because the Scriptures also say, “what if we gain the whole world, but in so doing, lose our souls?”
Living righteously in words and deeds in the sight of God is what we must pursue first, before we can accomplish peace in the world. We need to remember that no institution or constitution can vote us into the kingdom of God. It is only through his son, Jesus Christ, that we can enter into his kingdom.
In conclusion, whether we are for or against the wars in Iraq and other nations, we need to be careful about what we are saying and doing. While politics has its place in world institutions and governments, it is not politics that will save our souls.
It is the way we live for Christ that is important. We must live as peacemakers, and we will become, truly, the children of God.