The Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

Funny how we can surround ourselves with beauty in an environment of quietude with the right Feng Shui and all, and yet have no real peace, our minds racing at 100 miles per hour or more, our thoughts spinning out of control, weighing on us with the gravity of a black hole. Our inner selves are incongruent with the carefully created façade of peace. Many times, we claim that all we want is peace, but then we go about creating turmoil and discord by our selfish actions or careless attitude of entitlement.

It’s hard to find peace, when we sit in judgement of others, yet for some reason, we seem to try our damnedest to achieve personal peace in this manner. We think if we can point out to ourselves just how awful others are in comparison to us, we will find peace of mind. “At least I’m not like ________, and I don’t _______,” we say to ourselves to ease our discomfort, settle our minds, continually filling in the blanks, but, in reality, this type of worrisome anxiety only exacerbates the problem, it gives us everything but peace.

Peace does not come through this kind of thinking, nor does it come to us through spending time in a “peaceful” room or setting. It comes through faith, though trust in the power of providence, the power of God who works all things to the benefit of those who love him. After his death, when Christ first appeared to his disciples, he knew their minds were troubled by the trauma of what they had witnessed, by the thought of carrying on without him, by the astonishing news of the empty tomb and their unwillingness to believe. He offered them peace.

Peace is a spiritual concept, it comes from trusting in God’s sprit to take care of us, to fill us, it’s about finding that place in our inner being, where no matter how the storms of life rage about us, we are calm, assured, serene, knowing that we can just let go and be held in His embrace, in His love and care. A peacemaker is one who understands that it is God’s Holy Spirit which is the cause of true peace, and he who demonstrates this profound understanding of God’s love for us and fosters the same in his fellow man.

So, who exactly are the “peacemakers” and how do we identify them? What are peacemakers made of that they should be called God’s children? They are not always the “middle” children, the ones who can see the qualities we all share, that we all have in common, traits like love and acceptance, belonging and understanding, as psychologists would have us believe. They are not always the diplomats, the ones who encourage ceasefires and so-called peace treaties, as politicians would have us believe.  But, peacemakers are those who foster compassion, trust and understanding, the ones who show others, helping them achieve peace of mind.

Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 GNB

~SLM

The Narrow Path

Lately, I’ve been chewing on the book of Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve’s epic fail in particular, considering what it says about human nature, and what wisdom can be gleaned from the account.  My nephew thinks I’m crazy to be fixed on a “silly old myth that doesn’t have much bearing on life in the modern world.” But, is that in fact true? Have we really “evolved” beyond a tale of choices and consequences, of responsibility and self-examination?

If you think about it, it’s really much more than a “silly old myth” about a man and woman, and a snake; it’s about the choices we make and the consequences of those choices, choices that, even now, in our modern “evolved” world, are presented to us every day of our lives in a myriad of forms. It’s also about taking responsibility for our choices, owning up to the mistakes we make, rather than pointing the finger at someone else.

In the Book “The Road Less Traveled,” psychologist M. Scott Peck, says, “Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own behavior, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some other individual or organization or entity.” Blaming others for our behavior is nothing new, we’ve been doing this since time began. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake, and a quick look at the any newsfeed suggests that we haven’t changed much since. Dr. Peck goes on to say that when we blame it means “we then give away our power to that entity.” So Adam gave his power to Eve, and she in turn gave hers to the snake, absolving all, save the snake, of any wrongdoing, right? Not at all. Contrary to what we think we are doing, when we blame others for our actions, we aren’t exercising our “get out of jail free” cards, we are actually giving our power to those we blame, assigning the control over our lives to an outside force, making us hopeless, helpless, a victim.

Eve made a choice to eat the fruit and serve it to her husband. Adam made a choice to eat the fruit, even though he, too, knew it was forbidden. We all make choices, and we can choose whether or not to partake, yet if we do, we must know that there will surely be consequences. We can eat of the fruit, or not, but that road, if we choose to go down it, is wide and well-traveled, and where it leads? Well, that’s a different matter all together. And, making our way back? Well, as we have been told, “Small is the gate and narrow the path that leads to life and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14)

The narrow road is fraught with difficulties and challenges, because our desire to back up, to have a do-over, our resolve in the matter, will be tested again and again. Speaking truth in the face widespread dishonesty and doing what’s right, when no one else does, is not easy. Accepting our shortcomings, taking responsibility for them and resolving to change is harder still. Yet this story challenges us to confront the difficulties we face in life, to own up to our faults, to look for that “narrow” path. In truth, life is difficult, it’s unfair, no matter which path we take, but the difference is this: The narrow path teaches us so much more about ourselves, about the nature of reality, of God, and how we fit into the cosmic plan; it gives us perspective and teaches us perseverance, and trust, and leads us to life, and to God’s peace.

~SLM