Making peace, not war

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

th-111When I went looking for a picture to go along with a Catch on making peace, I typed “peacemaker” in the image search engine, and got an array of pictures of a gun. Not quite what I expected. Apparently “peacemaker” is the name of a popular gun collector’s item, a Colt 45 that was the U.S. Army official service revolver from 1873-1892. I also found pictures of a very large aircraft — the Convair B-36 bomber — the largest mass-produced piston-engine aircraft ever made, and operated solely by the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1949 to 1959. It was designed specifically to carry nuclear weapons long distances and could travel almost halfway around the world without refueling.

th-81In both of these instances, “peace” was maintained by way of the threat of destructive force. You will be peaceful because I’ve got the gun and I can blow you away. Or, Your country will be at peace with us because you know we have the capability of wiping your entire nation off the face of the earth.

Not quite the kind of peacemaker Jesus was talking about, and yet it is the kind of “peace” many Christians have taken up in the last few decades. There is a militant strain of Christianity that has evidenced itself ever since Christians gained power socially and politically in America. Under the guise of a culture war, Christians have taken to trying to win back lost values by force, as if a Colt 45 in hand would make the country a more Christian nation.

When Jesus talks about making peace, He means to come from a humble, sacrificial place, not a place of superior firepower. Our weapons are not protected by the NRA; they are weapons of righteousness and the power of love.

We’re not going to set back global conflicts or generations-old hatred, but we can bring peace to our sphere of influence. We can return good for evil, and pray for those who set themselves up as some kind of personal enemies. We can spread goodwill everywhere we go, and treat everyone with respect — no exceptions. We can take the lower place and lift up the fallen and the downcast. We can be peaceful and make peace with everyone who will accept it.

We have the most powerful weapons in the world at our disposal: they are the fruits of the Spirit, and they are “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

This is the way we change the world as followers of Christ and representatives of the Gospel of Welcome, and as children of God, by making peace, not war.

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13 Responses to Making peace, not war

  1. Sandie says:

    “Treat everyone with respect – no exceptions.” what a concept! What a refreshing alternative to looking down our noses at “the not-yet saved” and using our bibles to browbeat them into falling into line with our beliefs and our way of expressing them. What could this world be like if we would be the peacemakers? Never perfect, but certainly more user-friendly. To quote Martin Luther King Jr., “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” And he wasn’t talking about the sappy, ‘let you get away with murder’ kind. It’s the love that totally respects you, always wants the best for you, and does what it can to see that happen. It’s a love that ‘agrees to disagree’….respectfully…graciously.
    Please God – help me live up to my words.

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      It’s kind of funny Sandie in I was thinking about that Martin Luther King Jr. quote: “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” as I read Today’s Catch…

  2. kellief4 says:

    I’ve always loved this: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23)

    Against such things there is no law. It’s pretty amazing. And the idea that loving God and loving your neighbor fulfills the law! Pretty deep when you let it really sink in. And so hard to do sometimes! Praying we will all progress in positive directions with these things this year.

  3. DOYLE KEITH says:

    What a timely devotion John. From my Bible reading plan today in Leviticus 19:33 ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as [h]one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

    35 ‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. 36 You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

    Suppressed peace is bondage for both of you in reality.
    Blessings church,

  4. Wayne C Bridegroom says:

    Hey John,
    Your thoughts remind me of David P. Gushee’s book “Evangelical Peacemakers.” Evidently this is something of a new movement in our day as a 3rd alternative. Since Augustine, who developed the ‘just war’ theory of biblical understanding, there has been a clash of sorts between that concept and the Mennonite/Quaker/Seventh Day Adventist ‘pacifist’ doctrine. It is refreshing to see some genuine success stories in Gushee’s book.

  5. Mark D Seguin says:

    TY Pastor John 4 this: “…as children of God, by making peace, not war.” I about stood up and cheered and yelled Amen!

    Especially after reading a of of Christians now in days thinking what happened on Jan. 6th @ the Capital was a good thing and try to use what Jesus did over throwing the tables of the money changers @ the Temple as an example.. ad it breaks my heart!

  6. John, your message today stirred up memories of past Catch’s where you took an awful lot of heat from gun-rights advocates and others who tried to steer your opinions and community toward the mindset of the mob mentality we witnessed on January 6th.
    So, please accept my apologies for (possibly) stirring up a hornets nest by making the following suggestion:

    As the season of Lent begins on Wednesday (Feb. 17th), perhaps all of the gun-embracers and Second Amendment “protectors” who profess a true dedication to Jesus Christ and the Bible could give up their firearms for 40-days.
    Just 40-days, not forever.
    Lock those guns away, seek out God each day, and don’t forget to pray.
    And when the burning desire strikes to gaze upon that rifle, pistol, shotgun or other firearm with it’s shiny hard body, and to caress its sumptuous contours, and to stroke the slightly-curved phallus hanging below the barrel…
    turn your eyes upon Jesus and pray!
    Turn away and resolve to remain true to your sacrificial commitment until Easter.

    Sorry again, John, if this brings a flurry of rebukes, condemnations, and political diatribes but I believe we are in a three-pronged war here: the obvious tactile war, the philosophical (or political) war, and, of course, the biggie: the spiritual war.
    As time winds down on this old orb, it is now time we seriously decide to make known our true allegiances and weapons of choice.

    Whom will we trust more: the genuine Peace Maker or the other “peacemaker”?
    Which shall we choose? “As for me and my house…”

    Say, here’s a shotgun blast from the past from one of your best Catch’s:

    Be a blessing. Be blessed. Be of goodwill. Be of good cheer.

    Shalom, PEACE…

    • Sandie says:

      Bob – After hours of thought and prayer, I am compelled to reply to your post –
      My “hornet’s nest” is not stirred up by your suggestion to lay aside firearms for Lent. But your salacious description of a gunowners mindset regarding his weapon has my hornets buzzing with frustration and disappointment, sadness and, yes, anger.
      “Blessed are the peacemakers…” There was nothing of peace in those words you wrote. There certainly was nothing of the respect we are called to extend to all others, especially those we disagree with. For me, any merit in your comment was negated by them.
      You imply that a believer that doesn’t comply with your suggestion does not have a “true dedication” to Jesus Christ and the Bible. That kind of judgmental attitude between believers is what drives seekers away from us. I can’t blame them; it has driven me away too.
      Yes, we are involved in a deadly serious spiritual war. The war itself was won by Christ, but we will sacrifice our brothers and sisters in the battles if we don’t heed Jesus’ command that we love one another; the same way he loves us, sacrificially. I have fallen so short too many times.
      I re-read my initial comment and others’ in this Catch. I also referenced the Catch you suggested and read those comments, which included my own. It seems I repeat my self – in a good way I hope.
      Respectfully, I wish you blessings, good will and good cheer.

  7. J. D. Woods says:

    Your heat beats as mine! I am 100% in alignment with what you said, you just said it better that I could. Thank you , thank you!!


  8. mitchteemley says:

    Amen, John. Reminds me of another one of Jesus’ peace statements, “My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27). Many Christians have indeed focused on the kind of peace “the world gives.”

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