Devotional Thoughts: Jesus ‘ Ethics, Peacemaking

This verse comes as a part of the Sermon on the Mount. Teaching on the top of a mountain was significant. God revealed vital things to Moses on a mountain top. The Sermon on the Mount teaches us the ethics of Jesus. Jesus teaches us what His people are like while seated high on a mountain As this verse indicates, God’s people are to be peacemakers, not those who seek to stir up dissension.

There’s an entire peacemaking movement evolving in our time. Believers are bravely crossing over lines society has drawn to make peace so those hurt can see God. Peacemakers set themselves and their own desires aside and make peace for the greater good. The greater good is not a what I want but what will best reflect the Kingdom of God. Those who do this are recognized as God’s children.

I’ve heard people say, “We’re all God’s children.” No, we’re not all God’s children. Yes, God crested each and every one of us and loves us all the same but God’s children are those who give up their own way of living to follow God. God’s children are those who have been transformed by God and even have a God-granted desire to live by Jesus ‘ high ethical standards.

This small verse says so much! It teaches us when we live as a peacemaker we are blessed. Other translations use the word happy. Lots of happiness seeking in the world today in many directions. I’m blessed when I obey God and seek to be a peacemaker. Peacemakers value all people involved. Peacemakers listen. Peacemakers love. Peacemakers forgive and extend the olive branch.

While there’s still sin there will never be peace so we have to work hard at this. Here’s one way to accomplish this from Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” The fight is in our minds. Keep our minds on God and we can have peace. When disunity swirls all around me I self evaluate and see if there is any sin in me. If so I confess and repent so I can have peace. If not I at least have peace of mind that I’ve not sinned. I can then work on cultivating peace among others.

Pastors should be good examples of peacemakers, however this is an emotionally draining work. We call this putting out fires. There’s nothing fun about seeing someone’s sin hurt someone else and helping to clean up a mess. We cannot clean up anything really but we can just encourage others to apologize and forgive. I think we’re all aware that forgiveness doesn’t mean that relationship will be the same. God is the only true redeemer.

Peacemakers do not sin in their anger. This makes matters worse. Let’s ask God where we can be bearers of peace today. Maybe that means I need to extend an apology. Maybe this means I stop combatting someone and seek to listen to and understand them. Maybe this means I cross over a societal boundary and make friends with someone who appears to be an enemy. Humans aren’t the Enemy. The enemy seeks division, destruction and death. God gives harmony, love and peace. We can be good representatives of God without denying ourselves and choosing to live by the ethics of Jesus as taught here in The Sermon on the Mount.

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