There are plenty of troublemakers in the world; we need peacemakers
By Don Ruhl
You may remember the photograph of nine-year-old Phan Thi Kim Phuc from the Vietnam War. Napalm (Napthenic Acid and Palmitate [jellied incendiary used in bombs]) was dropped on her village. Two of her brothers were killed and she was badly burned. Without any clothes on, she ran toward the photographer. Her arms were held out to the side because of the pain and her mouth is open in a cry of agony. She suffered third-degree burns over 50% of her body. She endured fourteen months of painful rehabilitation and skin grafts. The pain was so great, that when her wounds were washed and dressed, she lost consciousness.
Later, she married and moved to Canada. She still suffers pain because she lost sweat and oil glands. In 1996 she was invited to speak at a Veteran’s Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. She laid a wreath and uttered forgiveness.
“I have suffered a lot from both physical and emotional pain. Sometimes I could not breathe. But God saved my life and gave me faith and hope. Even if I could talk face to face with the pilot who dropped the bombs, I would tell him, ‘We cannot change history, but we should try to do good things for the present and for the future to promote peace.’”
What would the world be like, if more had her attitude? “There are far too many trouble-makers in the world; there are far too few peacemakers. In which category are you?” (Clifton Rogers). Truly, “…counselors of peace have joy” (Pro. 12:20). The seventh Beatitude in Matthew 5:9 gives depth to that proverb,
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
This is more than loving peace; it is making peace. Peacemakers are more than dreamers; they fill their hearts with peace and seek it. It is not mere poetry our Lord spoke in the Beatitudes. Nor is it simply for those who are inclined to make peace. According to Mark chapter 9, it is the commandment of Jesus Christ.
“Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another” (Mark 9.50).
Obedience to this commandment enables us to share in His relationship with the Father.
They Shall Be Called Sons of God
That makes you God’s family! God’s kinfolk! Like Father, like Son. Jesus is the great peacemaker. He is even called the “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9.6. Colossians 1:19, 20 shows just how far He went to make peace, “having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
Through Christ, God made peace with the world. Through Christ, all men can have peace. How was that peace made? It was “through the blood of His cross.” Therefore, peacemaking is the whole point of the cross! That is why peacemakers are sons of God, even as Jesus is The Son of God.
He brings about peace among men, breaking down all middle walls of partition between classes and races and individuals, by making them first of all at peace with God—atonement among men by way of atonement with God (Gore, The Expositor’s Dictionary of Texts, Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan, Volume 1, Part 2, p. 796).
Therefore, to bring peace to relationships, make peace with God. How many broken relationships never would have been broken, if Isaiah 26:3 had been kept in mind?
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
“I never have found Peace of mind by giving folks a Piece of mine” (Laurence C. Smith). We give God our minds, and He gives us Peace of Mind.
Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, peacemakers take on His nature. “God is thus seen reflected in them; and by the family likeness these peacemakers are recognized as the children of God” (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co.: Grand Rapids, Michigan, Volume V, p. 28). The sons of God are, “Those who resemble God, or who manifest a spirit like his. He is the Author of peace, (1Co 14.33) and all those who endeavour to promote peace are like him, and are worthy to be called his children” (Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, The Master Christian Library, AGES Software, Inc., Rio, Wisconsin, Volume 12, p. 126).
First John chapter 3 displays the privilege of being a son of God. See the picture of love that John shows us here. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (v. 1). Why is this great love? Previously we were children of Satan, children of wrath and children of disobedience. Why would He allow us to be called His children? It is pure love and pure love of peace that drove the Father to do this magnificent thing.
Therefore, the world does not know us. The world does not understand God’s method of peacemaking, but we promote it that they might understand it, making us sons and daughters of God.
From an unknown newspaper, I copied the following,
A modern crucifixion-for-peace failed. On January 30, 1973 Patrice Tamao of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, allowed himself to be nailed to a cross “as a sacrifice for world peace and understanding among men.” As thousands watched on television, six-inch stainless steel nails were driven through his hands and feet. Tamao had planned to remain on the cross for 48 hours, but after only 20 hours he had to cut short his voluntary crucifixion because of an infection in his right foot.
The newspaper article had as its heading, “Crucifixion-for-peace falls short.”
If you have not heard of this man, it is because he failed to bring peace between God and man. Only Jesus Christ succeeded. If you are ready for peace, Romans 6.3–6 shows that you can have fellowship with Jesus in His crucifixion through baptism, and so make peace between yourself and God.
Don Ruhl is one of the preachers with the Savage Street Church of Christ in Grants Pass, Oregon (220 NE Savage Street, 97526, 541-476-3100, Rdruhl@aol.com). He also edits The Bible Meditator.