A family was being harassed by their neighbors at a resort we were staying at recently. The family belonged to a minority ethnic group.
A relative of mine struck up a conversation with this family and learned of the dynamic that was taking place amongst the neighbors. Their presence, care, and interest was a great encouragement to this family and helped change their entire mood. They were so grateful that they shared a large plate of their BBQ with them.
As the story was recounted to me immediately the words of Jesus in the sermon on the mount came to mind, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
The follower of Christ discovers a beautiful revelation of the peace of God. First and foremost peace describes a spiritual peace from and with God. I have three young children and at times their interactions are anything but peaceful but at the end of the day they do not question the presence of the others in their life.
This is a picture of Father God’s desire for His children, that we would be at peace in the household. Meaning that the surety of our connection would not be questioned in the midst of disappointment, challenge, and uncertainty. Perhaps that is what Jesus was referring to when he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3”
Our inward reality must reflect itself in our outward actions, otherwise we are deceived about what we really believe. Jesus invites us into the peace giving mission, “blessed are the peacemakers.”
It becomes a way of living, not to avoid conflict but to seek to bring peace in the midst of it. Jesus demonstrated what is possible when one rests and lives with the confidence that they are fully, completely, and wholly loved.
At Jesus’ baptism we hear this affirmed. “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” - Matthew 3:17 We proclaim this good news that through Jesus we can all know peace with God. It is not reserved for people who do the say or do the right things but for those who believe in Jesus.
Today we find ourselves in a world where many are held captive by fear, anxiety, and worry where at times we are not even aware of what is influencing our actions.
In our day may we hear the words of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27”
With that peace let us be mindful of our neighbors. It may be that our presence and care is the vehicle that God uses to change their world and bring hope.