Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5: 9
A Beacon of Light
On March 16th, I woke up to the devastating news of the mass shooting which took place in New Zealand. As they prayed peacefully, gunmen opened fire on the worshippers; their families now left to mourn in agony. I asked God to mend the hearts of those affected and to bring peace to their souls.
He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. “Psalm 147:3
The Bible instructs all Christians to be the light in this troubled world. It is my duty to live peacefully among others, despite our differences. It is the duty of all Christians to shine, especially when everything else is falling apart.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” — Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
My BC ( Before Christ) Life
I always find it useful to reflect on my life before Christ. It helps others to see that I had many flaws, yet I was still chosen.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15:16 NIV
I spent most of my life uninterested in making peace with my father’s side of the family. I never lost any sleep over this; I felt it wouldn’t make much difference in my life. How silly was I? The week prior to my baptism, peace became my heavenly assignment. My instructions came through dreams. It was as if God was saying, “How can you follow Jesus, when you have not done what I have asked you to do.”
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 NIV
Following this revelation, I placed my pride aside and acted in obedience. I extended a hand of peace and I thanked God that I did .
But He gives us more grace. That is why the scripture says: God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble. James 4:6 NIV
When I became a Christian, I realised that peaceful living can be difficult, but necessary. Can I say this, the Bible reiterates that peace might not be possible at all times, but when it is possible, we must do everything in our power to live peacefully.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18, NIV
Let’s quickly look at Acts 5:28-29. In the following scene, Peter and the other apostles are being told not to teach in Jesus’ name. We all know that this command was impossible to obey. Despite being flogged, they continued to break the law. In this case, peace was not possible.
We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! Acts 5:28-29 NIV.
Where peace is possible, the help of the Holy Spirit is required. God’s wisdom prevents us from falling into sin. His wisdom gives us a greater understanding of any situation.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Time to be silent
For the past few months, I have been asking God to provide insight into a situation in my life, by asking for the necessary wisdom to understand my colleague. Last week, her actions caused me a great deal of pain and embarrassment. As she spoke to me, I was hurt but remained silent, for only God knew the right words to say.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19
In that moment, God had a plan up His sleeve. He was going to use fifteen minutes to soften my heart. As I pulled myself together, I mustered the courage to ask her about her plans for the remainder of the week. Yes, I was searching for an opportunity to have a peaceful ending to my day. I would have NEVER done this in my BC life! I thrived in tense environments. I enjoyed blocking persons from my memory. I walked aimlessly, back and forth, waiting for God to drop His miracle in. I couldn’t leave just yet! Suddenly, God prompted her to say the right thing at the right time.
In that moment, God revealed her pains. As I drew nearer to her, she shared the regrets of her youth and the desires of her heart. I was overwhelmed with compassion and in that moment, I knew that I had forgiven her. I embraced her. As I departed, I thanked God for that window of opportunity. He had seen my willingness for peace and through Him peace was made. I thanked God for the wisdom to remain silent, when her actions stung.
“A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7
Peace begins with me
God always finds a way to teach us about ourselves and others. How can we share peace with others when we are not at peace with ourselves?
“We don’t need to take on the world in order to produce peace, all we need to do is start with ourselves.” Unknown
The fruits of the spirit comes in a particular order for a reason. Without love and joy, there can be no peace. We are called to love our neighbours as ourselves, but how can we love our neighbours when we struggle to love ourselves? I pray that God will reveal himself to her, for it is only Him who understands her heart.
So what do I do when I have reached out to make peace and its not reciprocated? I am learning to be content with the thought that I have done everything which is possible to live in peace. God knows my heart, He lives within me. I continue to pray that God will heal their hearts and in time peace will prevail.
Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it: I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. Jeremiah 33:6
What happens when I’m waiting for someone to make peace, but it hasn’t happened? Have you ever had to accept an apology that never came? Me too. Peace comes from learning to forgive others, even when you haven’t received an apology. It comes from learning to forgive others, because God has forgiven us even when we haven’t apologised to Him.
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22 KJV