“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”â€“ Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
I’ve taken on a study of the above verse to determine what Jesus really meant. I decided to start by focusing on the Biblical term â€œpeaceâ€ to get a firm understanding of how Jesus would have understood that word.
Reading through the hundreds of verses that refer to peace in the Bible, it seems to me that they can be roughly divided into two general categories, Social and Spiritual.
On the Social side of the ledger we are talking about peace between people. It involves a reduction of, or better yet, a complete absence of interpersonal conflict. It is a horizontal thing, man to man.
Some examples of verses that deal with the Social side of peace include:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. (Jeremiah 29:7)
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
People who have focused intensely on addressing the Social side fight to correct injustice, and often do so in particularly non-violent ways. Two examples of great men who were champions of non-violent confrontation of this sort would be Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Their willingness to stand up to governments without violence ultimately helped bring about peace in a social sense to millions of people. People who take a stand here and understand this facet of peace should be honored and can obviously accomplish great good by touching many lives in a positive way. But that’s not all there is.
Unfortunately I’m out of time for this morning. I’ll address the Spiritual side another time.