August 2020

From The Pastor's Heart

We are responsible to do what we can to live peaceably with others.

By Charles F. Stanley

Are you a peacemaker? That’s a challenging question because oftentimes we don’t truly know what it means. But Jesus placed a high value on this trait when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). We usually think of peacemakers as mediators who negotiate disputes and settle arguments or disagreements between two parties. And isn’t this what we need in all our relationships, whether in the home, workplace, school, neighborhood, or church?

Our society is largely characterized by conflict, anger, and contention, but as Christians we are told, if at all possible so far as it depends on us, we are to be at peace with everyone (Rom. 12:18). Even if a satisfactory resolution doesn’t occur, we are still responsible to do what we can to live peaceably by responding in a godly manner.

The first step in becoming a peacemaker is receiving Christ’s peace. This is not something we work to attain but a gift freely given to all who trust Him as Savior. It’s actually the gift of Christ Himself, which is acquired at salvation. When we trust in Jesus and His death as payment for our sins, we not only have peace with God, but we become His beloved children. At that moment, an eternal relationship with Christ is established, and where He is, there is peace.

The night before His crucifixion, Jesus gave His disciples an amazing promise: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). He wasn’t saying that life would always be tranquil but that they would have peace of mind and heart, even though their circumstances were painful, difficult, and uncertain. This is the same kind of peace Jesus promises to all of us who belong to Him. One of the evidences of this relationship with Christ is that we become peacemakers.

Second, the most basic way of making peace is by connecting other people to the ultimate Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Because of sin, we are all born as enemies of God, and the only way to be reconciled to Him is through faith in His Son for the forgiveness of our sins (Rom. 5:8-11). Of all possible broken relationships, this one most urgently needs reconciling because it determines where we’ll spend eternity—in heaven or hell. Therefore, we must let people know how they can have peace with God.

The most obvious way to do this is to share the gospel with others, and pray the Lord will open their hearts and minds to understand and believe. But our conduct is also a means God uses to draw people to Himself.

Jesus told His followers, “You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14, Matt. 5:16). Human life without Christ is characterized by anxiety, fear, and anger, and without a relationship with Him, no one will ever have genuine peace. All the world can offer are counterfeits that only provide temporary relief. When unbelievers see us going through hardships with a sense of peace and contentment, they may wonder what makes Christians so different. Therefore, we must always be ready to gently and reverently tell them why we have Christ’s hope and peace in our hearts (1 Pet. 3:15).

Third, we are called to be peacemakers in our relationships. The internal peace Christ gives also overflows into our relationships with others. Whenever we experience disagreements or conflicts, He can give us the peace of mind to respond in a godly manner that defuses aggression and hostility. However, if we are preoccupied with exerting our rights, getting what we want, and proving the other person wrong, the contention will grow, and along with it anger, bitterness, and resentment. None of these can coexist with peace because they are negative emotions that keep our focus off the Lord and on our own selfish demands.

James points out that there are two kinds of wisdom with which we can respond to conflicts (James 3:13-18). The wisdom from the world is natural and demonic. It’s characterized by bitter jealousy and selfish ambition and results in evil and disorder. But the wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, and without hypocrisy. Those who make peace rely on God’s wisdom, which produces righteousness.

The Greek word for peace is eirene, which means to bind or join together, signifying oneness without strife or consternation. This should be our goal in every relationship. Although others may reject our attempts at peacemaking, we must remember that Jesus says we are blessed because as children of God we are reflecting Christlike character in our conduct, conversation, and interactions with others.

My hope and prayer is that you will make it your ambition to be a peacemaker—someone who tells people about Jesus Christ’s offer of reconciliation with God and who seeks to sow peace in every relationship. If you do this, you will be blessed and reap the fruit of righteousness.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. It’s a joy to connect with you each month through this letter. I hope you are taking advantage of the materials at intouch.org. They are designed to encourage and strengthen you in your walk with Christ. May God bless you.


What happens to my notes

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;

16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.

15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.

16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

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