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 Meek

In my quest to find wisdom through scripture, I come back again and again to certain passages. Today I’m stuck on the Sermon on the Mount and the meek. In Matthew 5:5, we are taught, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” and I’m preoccupied with how we apply this teaching to ourselves, so we can live wiser, more peace-filled lives. Perhaps it would be better understood, if it read, “Blessed are the gentle, the humbly patient, for they will reap the rich reward of their calm endurance.”

This goes hand-in-glove with being “poor” in spirit. It has everything to do with humility, and it means; don’t think you’re all that, because generally, you’re not.  In fact, when we’re full of ourselves, it’s nearly impossible to be humble, let alone be patient. In truth, when the ego is inflated, all else shrinks back, all else  becomes secondary, and we’re easily offended, easily angered, easily whipped up into a frenzy of self-righteous indignation over the tiniest of perceived slights – real or imagined. We convince ourselves that others think about us above all else, plotting, acting in a certain way, or doing something to us on purpose, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. When we’re “filled with the yeast of the Pharisees,” we leave little room for meekness.

When we’re meek, we understand and accept our own limitations. We are yielding and unassuming, filled with fortitude. It takes great strength and courage to admit to ourselves (and to God) that we don’t have it all together, don’t have any clue what to do next, don’t have all the answers. But meekness also suggests that we know and understand our strengths as well. If one is quiet and gentle, unassuming and calm, it’s an indication of conviction, of certainty. Understanding our strengths and weaknesses is what gives us the poise to remain calm in the face of controversy, to intentionally accept disagreeable circumstances which are beyond our control, to be still and wait for His direction, before charging forth into questionable actions and circumstances. 

There’s a profound connection between gentleness and not thinking you’re all that, and there’s also a connection between the “fear” (as in awe) of the Lord and meekness. The “fear” of the Lord is the cause of gentleness, of humble patience. Because, respecting God and being certain of His hand gives us the quiet confidence we need to press on, to endure with gentle patience the long tunnel, keeping our eyes fixed on the light, however dim it may seem at times, confident of the tunnel’s end, and the rich reward awaiting there. 

~SLM

The Poor in Spirit

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ begins his discourse by saying, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will see the kingdom of heaven.” So what does it mean to be poor in spirit? Does it denote those who are below the poverty level or, those who are pitiful, helpless or weak?

Perhaps it could be better understood, if it read humble of spirit – Happy are those who are not full of themselves, who are humble and least in their own eyes. When we are full of ourselves, it’s hard to see beyond the 2-foot sphere of our own personal space, our own point of view.  We are inwardly focused, looking at everything through the narrow scope of me-ness. We can’t see how our actions affect the lives of others, as if the wake we leave behind us in our passing is some mysterious phenomenon that is happening to us rather than being created by us, making us “stiff necked” and “hard-hearted.” When in our conceit, we think we know the answer; there is no room for maturation, no room for toleration, no room for truth. We become egotistic, unresponsive and dismissive, being so convinced of what we “know” that we miss what we need to know. We are in short, arrogant of Spirit.

Yet, if we are humble of Spirit, modest, unpretentious, respectful and obliging, the beauty of life opens up to us. When we realize how little we understand, grasping that our lives affect others in ways we could not begin to imagine, our outlook on life becomes more conscious, more courteous, more reverential. We become receptive of God’s will for us, we see through the eyes of Sprit and become teachable; we see what is important. And this is what is truly important: to keep our eyes fixed on Him who created all things, loving Him with our whole heart, our whole being, seeking His counsel, His way.

It really is an all or nothing proposition. As we are told in Luke 16:13, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” We serve either ourselves or God.

~SLM