[Jesus said,]â€œBlessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.â€Â Â Â Â Matthew 5:9 (KJV)
[Jesus said,]â€œDon’t think that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came to bring trouble, not peace. I came to turn sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. Your worst enemies will be in your own family.â€Â Â Â Â Matthew 10:34-36 (CEV)
Mark Twain is credited for saying, â€œItâ€™s the Scripture that I do know that bothers me.â€ I do not know if he actually said that, but I agree with him. It is Scripture like these that appear to contradict each other that makes me roll my eyes and look to heaven wondering why God didnâ€™t make this all tidy and as one-dimensional as my brain would like to understand. God is multi-faceted and infinite so I need to step back and get a broader view than just one passage.
Jesus spoke often that it was about what was in the heart that mattered. He answered the questions that people needed to have answered, not the one they actually asked. So when I ask myself, â€œIs Jesus advocating that I be about peace or not?â€ I need to look at the true agenda behind the act of peace or not-peace. Am I speaking up in my church to proclaim myself or my own agenda or am I speaking Godâ€™s truth? Am I living my life and making decisions to prove to my parents or my boss that I am me and I do not need their approval to do what I know is right or I am doing what I truly should do?
Since my ego is on the line when answering these questions, it is so important that I look to accountability to keep me honest. (I recently blogged about accountability.) I need God to help me through the example of Christ, the wisdom of His Spirit and Word, and those He has brought into my life to speak His truth.
Jesus promised us His peace (John 14:27) but He said He wouldnâ€™t be giving it like the world gives. And Jesus said we were not to be afraid or to worry. Jesusâ€™ peace would be all we would need no matter what was happening in the world. No war, no hurricane, nothing would be able to shake the peace that Jesus gives.
God has called us to live in peace (1 Corinthians 7:15). Itâ€™s not about the peace that is produced in my flesh or homogenized in the worldâ€™s compromises. It comes from the extravagant love of Jesus in the hearts of those who speak and act according to His will.