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By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
Not Being Peacemakers
Every single person in the Church is called upon to be a peacemaker. This is one of the principles that Jesus taught in His "Sermon on the Mount", as recorded in Matthew 5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (NASU).
By the very definition of the word, a person cannot be a peacemaker unless such a person does something. A peacemaker cannot sit back, keep silent, and do nothing. A peacemaker is one who MAKES peace. It is an active job, and one that Jesus tells us brings both a blessing and a very special title - that of being a son or daughter of God. Thus, by not being peacemakers, Church silence actually promotes violence .
To be the peacemakers that Jesus encourages us to be, the Church must take a positive, peaceable stand against all forms of violence. And, Paul tells us that the whole of creation (humans, non-humans, and the environment) anxiously awaits the revealing of such peacemaking sons and daughters of God. Note what He wrote in Romans 8:18-25:
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Just because we say we believe in Jesus Christ, doesn't mean that we are either peacemakers or sons (daughters) of God. Just because we say we believe in peace, doesn't bring us peace. This is why Paul tells us that the whole of creation eagerly awaits for the REVEALING of the sons (daughters) of God, because the only way we reveal ourselves is to make a stand for peace in front of the forces of violence and evil.
A little further along in His sermon, Jesus teaches us to pray, and one part of that prayer is exceedingly important, but through the silence of the Church, we seem to be ignoring it. It's, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10 KJV)
What is the heavenly will of God? John tells us one aspect of it in Revelation 21:4:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (KJV)
For there to be no death or pain, there can be no wars or fighting, or fishing or hunting, or the raising of animals for food or clothing; for all these things bring about pain and suffering and death.
It's time for the Church to end its silence and support of any activity leading to suffering or death of any living being. The Church's silence is actually promoting violence, for the world looks to the Church for its moral guidance.
If we support the suffering or pain of any living being, through our silence or actual participation in the killing of geese in a lake or pond, because we consider them to be "pests", or the horrors of factory farming at a church function by serving the remains of the gentle beings who have suffered and died, we are going against the wishes of our true Prince of Peace, whom we claim to worship. True worship should also be performed with a contrite and obedient heart.
It's time to end our silence and speak out and act as the true peacemakers and children of God we are called upon to be.
The intent of this series is to wake up and encourage the Church to greater works of love and compassion (John 14:12). It is not to condemn the Church, in general, or any individual, any more than Jesus condemned the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said to her, "...go your way. From now on sin no more." (John 8:11) And this is our message to the Church: Recognize our sins of the past and go forth seeking to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), correcting the sins of the past, for that is the only way we can truly show the world that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, might, and mind, including the whole of creation, which includes our neighbors whom we are to love as ourselves.
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