Blessed Are the Peacemakers
It is inevitable. We are capable of offending folks. Most of the time, it is absolutely not intentional. Sometimes, we offend because of our presence as a Christian around folks that have no faith in God. Other times, the offense comes as a result of seeking to accomplish a task, build a building, or start a ministry in an area that is opposed to a church caring for “those kinds of people” (whoever that may be!) in their neighborhood.
By the mandate of our Lord, we are to be peacemakers (Matt.5:9). It is one of the attributes that Jesus espoused in His SERMON ON THE MOUNT that laid out the foundation for His Kingdom. Paul would encourage the church in Rome, If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (Romans 12:18). And, Follow after peace with all men. (Heb.12:14).
Our neighbors endured the disruption of their lives as we built on to our church. I’m sure that contributed to their lack of patience with us. We put our dumpster next to the parsonage. We didn’t want it on Rock Creek. It was believed that it would attract others continually filling it up, and it was not the first thing that we wanted people to see when they look at our church. One neighbor had a different point of view. He didn’t like coming out of his front door and looking across the street at a dumpster. He wanted to know what we were going to do.
All the neighbors and some men from our church and myself met at the dumpster. This man was angry. After he’d let off some steam I asked where he recommended we put the dumpster. You know that was a dangerous question. What he wanted was to put it out front on the corner of our property. I said to the group let’s go look at what he’s talking about. I did not want to do this.
I walked with the neighbors and listened to their complaints. When we got out front the man began explaining why it was a good spot. I was thinking of why it was not a good spot. But our Music Minister, who’d followed behind and heard the man complain from one end of the property to the other, looked at me and said, “This will be OK. We can make it work.” That’s exactly what we did.
There are shields inside the covers of the outside lights on the west side because the woman who lived across the street at that time complained that the lights were so bright that it lit up her living room and kitchen. We didn’t have to do any of that. But we’re Christians. We are people of peace. Those were minor actions to do good for our neighbors in order to live at peace with them.
Peacemakers release tension; they don’t intensify it. Peacemakers seek solutions and find no delight in arguments. Peacemakers calm the waters; they don’t trouble them. Peacemakers work hard to keep an offense from occurring. And if it has occurred, they strive for resolution. Peacemakers lower their voice rather than raise their voice. Peacemakers generate light not heat. (From a sermon by Ed Sasnett, Like a Good Neighbor, 7/29/2011).
I love the song that is sung at Christmas. It is one person’s prayer to be a “peacemaker”….. Let peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow. To take each moment and live each moment with peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. “Lord, please let it be true in me.”