Sermon on the Mount – What Does It Take to Be A Peacemaker?
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
As we look at this subject this morning we must understand some important truths about conflict:
- Conflict is everywhere – No matter where you go you will encounter conflict and problems.
- Everyone and every church will have conflict. If you are living and breathing you will have conflict and you will have problems. There is not one person who is immune from experiencing conflict. You will have conflict with other individuals, with other groups, with your boss, your spouse, your neighbor, and believe it or not you will have times of conflict with yourself. If you are a part of any organization and the church is no exception you will have conflict.
- Conflict in itself is neither good nor bad it is how you respond to conflict that makes it good or bad. The fact is when we deal with conflict in a correct way the conflict we experience has a way of stretching us but at the same time it grows us and allows us to gain more wisdom and understanding about how to handle problems in our lives.
So, if conflict is inevitable and we all face conflict and problems in our lives, we must determine in our hearts to handle conflict in a positive manner. In fact, it has been said that to know what rules one’s hearts is to know what rules their conflict.
Our text this morning calls us into a lifestyle of peacemaking. The promise associated with the act of becoming a peacemaker is that we will be called Sons of God. God does not tell us how to become a son of God. He simply says that sons of God are in fact peacemakers. The two ideas of being sons of God and peacemakers are synonymous and inseparable.
Peacemakers will be called Sons of Gods because they exhibit Christ like characteristics and Christ like responses to the difficulties they face. In other words, when they walk and live as peacemakers they will be identified as His children.
In an effort to provide full disclosure I want you to know that many of my comments this morning are taken from three books. The first is The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Peacemaking Pastors: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict by Alfred Poirier and The Peacemaker: Handling Conflict without Fighting Back or Running Away by Ken Sande & Kevin Johnson.
As we look at this subject of peacemaking I would like to share with you three ways that we can respond to conflict. Two of the ways will do little to resolve conflict and one but rather exasperates the problem.
The first of these ways is to be a peace-breaker. A peace-breaker is one who tries to make the conflict go away at all costs.
Many times the tongue is the greatest tool used by the peace-breaker. The tongue is used to deliberately confront people. Instead of looking for ways to bring peace peace-breakers sabotage any efforts to establish peace. While they do not deliberately try to hurt others, their insensitivity, careless words, and judgmental attitudes deeply wounded many people.
James 3:3-10 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
You might be a peace-breaker if you:
Use humor or sarcasm to clobber others or you aim your insults and vicious words straight at your opponents.
Gossip and use cutting words against others. This is where you speak cutting words behind a person’s back. While we may need input from others on how to deal with those who have hurt us. But there is a difference between searching out wisdom and backstabbing someone.
Use mind games to manipulate or intimidate others. You bully others through manipulation and intimidation.
If this is not brought under control those in the conflict can end up using their fist. And unfortunately they can end up murdering others not physically but most often emotionally and relationally.
The second of these ways is to be a peace-faker. Peace-fakers prefer ‘peace’ over truth. They will go to any length to avoid any kind of conflict/confrontation/unrest. In doing, so they settle for a counterfeit peace that is based on avoiding the real issues.
You might be a peace-faker if you:
Blame others rather accept responsibility for your actions. You try to escape the problem by pointing your finger at others. Whenever someone covers their tracks, falsely claims innocence or lies about one’s contribution to the problem they are shifting blame.
Flee from the conflict rather than deal with the conflict. Peace-fakers cut off relationships, they leave jobs, they get a transfer or they will leave a ministry because they are not willing to deal with the problems.
The third way, the Biblical way is the peace-maker. The peacemaker longs for peace, works for peace, and sacrifices for peace.
You might be a peace-maker if you:
Glorify God and honor Him with your actions. 1 Cor. 10:31 – We glorify God be giving God praise and honor by showing who He is, what He is like and what He is doing. In conflict, we can trust God by relying upon the power of God to do His work. As we draw on His grace, follow His example, and put His teachings into practice, we can find freedom from the impulsive, self-centered decisions that make conflict worse, and bring praise to God by displaying the power of the Gospel in our lives.
Get the log out of your own eye. Matthew 7:5 – How have I contributed to this conflict and what do I need to do to resolve it? The scripture reminds us that before we judge somewhat else’s sin we must recognize our own sin and short comings. Attacking others invites counterattacks. This is why Jesus teaches us to face up to our own contributions to a conflict before we focus on what another has done. When we overlook another’s minor offenses and honestly admit our own faults, our opponents often respond in kind. As tensions decrease, the way may be opened for sincere discussion, negotiation and reconciliation.
Go and be reconciled: Matthew 18 – How can I demonstrate forgiveness and encourage a reasonable solution to this conflict? We are committed to restoring damaged relationships and negotiating just agreements. When we forgive others as Jesus has forgiven us and seek solutions that other’s interest as well as our own, the debris of conflict is cleared away and the door is opened for genuine peace. It must be noted that Matthew 18 is not an option for a passioante followr of Christ.