February 06, 2023

Working for Peace

Devotion for the Week...

I'm constantly amazed by how familiar verses, that I've read or heard dozens of times, can one day grab my attention in a totally new way. That happened this past week with Matthew 5:9, which is part of The Beatitudes: "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God." In particular, it was the word peace that caught my attention and my first thought went to those who call for peace in the midst of protests over the deaths of Black people at the hands of police.

In those situations, when say they want peace, what they really want is for the protestors to go home and stop protesting. They want the status quo, for things to stay the way they are and have always been. That's because they (as white people, mainly) have peace under the status quo. But Jesus calls us to work for peace, spreading peace to others, not just maintaining peace for those who already have it.

The Greek word translated as 'work for peace' in the NLT is also translated as 'peacemaker' in other versions and has its root in the word eirene. According to the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, eirene means "a state of national tranquility; peace between individuals; security, safety, prosperity, felicity." So the children of God should be working to increase national tranquility, to increase the peace between people and to increase the security, safety, prosperity and felicity of others.

In thinking about the racial application of eirene, working to increase the security, safety, prosperity and felicity of all BIPOC would also increase the peace between people and national tranquility (no matter which nation you live in). If we all embraced the idea of creating safety and prosperity for everyone, there would be less division between groups of people.

Interestingly, working for peace doesn't mean avoiding conflict or sitting on the sidelines and wishing everyone could just get along. Instead, it means stepping directly into the conflict, putting ourselves between the two parties in opposition, and working to bring them together. It means taking an active role in making the situation better.

As someone who hates conflict of any kind, this call to work for peace makes me uncomfortable. I am not usually the one to step into the midst of a conflict and try to find a resolution. On top of that, I have trouble seeing how I can make a difference to such a complex problem. Maybe you can relate to one or both of those feelings.
what could peacemaking look like in our lives | DevotedQuilter.com
Our feelings aside, though, this verse tells us plainly that God values the efforts of those who work for peace. That makes me wonder, what could peacemaking look like in our lives?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave me a message. I love hearing from you.