Bible Society of South Africa

Peacemakers are urgently needed in a violent world! - 11 June 2024

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

9Happy are those who work for peace;

God will call them his children!

Matthew 5:9GNBOpen in Bible reader

There are so many flags and banners that people gather under these days, sounding their battle cry. While I was writing this, we heard about the president of Iran dying in a helicopter accident and the world is wondering what happened to him. The violence in Gaza continues and escalates daily. China is circling around Taiwan with their fleet. Russia is still bombing Ukraine and sends waves of young men to their deaths in a hail of bullets. In this conflict, soldiers on both sides are Christians, mostly from the Orthodox tradition. The media today is dominated by news of hate, violence, revenge and war.

Jesus came to this world with the message: it does not have to be this way! He came to this world as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to settle the most dangerous war of all – the conflict between God and man. He came to teach us, his followers, a new way of life. Other religions may propagate a “holy war”, but Jesus commanded us to love our neighbour as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). He set the bar even higher when he said we are to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34).

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) inspires us to start asking: how can this world become a better place for all? What difference can I make to achieve this? We need to start in our own thoughts and minds. How do I look at the people around me? We can become so obsessed with all the differences with people who are not like us. We can see the differences as a threat to our existence and withdraw into defence positions. But Jesus calls on us to see other people through his eyes. His love also extends to them. We are called to love and respect other people, because Christ died for them too. We are called to love them, even when they are our enemies. I think this asks of us to try to understand them first. We need to start praying for those who are not like us. We need to think of ways to touch their lives with words and deeds of love, so that they may experience the love of Christ through us.

When we act like Spirit-filled human beings towards one another, when we share the fruit of the Spirit with those around us, then the world begins to change. Somewhere, we must start conquering the fruit of our sinful nature, because it destroys the world.

Jesus is our Prince of Peace; he came to heal the broken relationships of this world. We are called to follow in his footsteps and allow ourselves to continuously be renewed to his image (2 Corinthians 3:18). When we become peacemakers, whilst following the example of Christ, then the world will recognise us as children of God.

Prayer: Lord, fill our hearts with your peace, then send us into this world to be makers of peace. Let our words and deeds show us to be children of God. Amen

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