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Reflections on Being a Peacemaker December 5, 2006

Posted by larrylaz in Recommendations, Scripture Meditation.
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I have mentioned Ken Sande’s book the Peacemaker before, but I was reminded again of its value last week as I preached on Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” In the book, Sande describes four steps to biblical peacemaking, all four of which are visible in the Sermon on the Mount. Here’s his four steps:

1. Glorify God. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Every conflict is an opportunity to glorify God. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). When a conflict comes into your life, you will inevitably show what you really think about God. Will you take matters into your own hands and get even by gossiping, slandering, harboring bitterness and resentment? Or will you strive for peace?

2. Get the log out of your eye. 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5)

The point is that when you are engaged in some conflict, your first response ought to be self-examination. Maybe you have been overly sensitive. Maybe your own sin has contributed to the conflict. I have found that many conflicts can be reconciled simply with this step. But we do not like this step. We always want to put the blame on another person. If you want to be a peacemaker, you must come to grips with your own sin before you start examining the sins of others.

3. Gently restore. Again, this point comes from the very same words as the last step in Matthew 7:3-5. Jesus says, “5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. The word ‘gentle’ is not in this passage, but I think it’s clearly presented in the image that Jesus uses: taking a speck out of someone’s eye.

It is a personally meaningful image, because when I was a kid I was taken to the hospital because while I was playing ball a thorn got stuck in my eye. I was in terrible pain and could not even open my eye. The doctor was able to go in and get the thorn out, but what care and precision and gentleness did he use to remove that ‘speck’ from my eye! It is that way for us as we seek to help others remove the speck in their eye. We must be tender and compassionate and gentle in our confrontations. We are dealing with the souls of human beings created in the image of God. Remember, our aim is not to condemn, but to restore.

4. Go and be reconciled. 23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). Personal peacemaking is so important that if there is a conflict, it’s better to skip church on Sunday than to come and ‘worship’ while a grudge remains. And notice who it is who has the grudge. Jesus says, “If your brother has something against you…” You may be saying, I’m not angry, I don’t have a problem,” and think that releases you from responsibility. Wrong! If you know that someone has something against you, your obligation is to go and be the peacemaker. And when it’s all said and done, forgive, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

May Christ’s followers apply these biblical principles, in order that we might “live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6)

Larry

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Comments»

1. sam - December 22, 2006

Thank God He made you!


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