This week I watched something I thought I would never see. Two leaders step across the most militarized border on earth and embrace each other. I have many friends in Korea and my son and daughter in law live there. The deadly divide in Korea is like a giant family fight complicated by outside powers with various agendas. Tens of thousands of lives have been lost and vast resources have been squandered on this seven-decade fight.
Yesterday I saw two people take a risk to bring peace between governments and families back together. This may be our centuries berlin wall coming down. Having been in Korea recently and worshiped in its churches an extraordinary fact is not lost on me. The reason we are seeing this is that the Korean people insisted on leaders who would work toward peace. Though much could still go wrong the possibility of real reconciliation is very real.
If these people can risk and work for peace with enemies should we who are called to this work do the same? The borders we need to cross may be in our own homes, church or workspace. Many times, as followers of Jesus we fail to see what God is doing in the world. We miss the invitations from God to prove out if we really follow Jesus at all.
We must learn the path of peace and follow it. Our reputation depends on it.
Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
This is hard because many of us grew up in families that didn’t teach how to work and play well with others. Many grew up in environments where conflict, cruelty, and conquest defined success.
We are now living in a culture that has more obvious hostile divisions than ever. People are in conflict over issues that matter but they don’t have the commitment or tools to bridge and heal the divides. Conflicts over beliefs, political opinion, racial justice, economic opportunity, family roles and structures, the use and or abuse of the natural world, the list is long. Conflicts over divorce-remarriage, custody of children, abuse, discrimination, and victimization are real and need healing. Is there a medicine for this brokenness? As the old song says, “is there no balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, to heal the sin-sick soul?”
There is; it is the path of peace and the gospel of peace.
This path is long and hard. It takes years sometimes to get through to others and them to us. This is the church’s job. You can no longer stay angerly partisan as part of the problem. As a follower of Jesus, you must work in your life, family, and world to learn and make peace.
This is not optional for us. It is deadly to you and me when we don’t.
Heb 12:14-15 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.
How many relationships have been defiled where healing could have come. Why? Because we hold on to bitterness and divisions God forbade. I know this is heavy stuff, but we cannot ignore our call to help people come to peace with God and one another.
STEPS TO PREPARE
PRAY FOR THE SERVICES AND FOR YOURSELF
AND ME AND THE OTHER TEACHERS.
PRAYERFULLY READ THE SCRIPTURES
AND CONSIDER THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS.
MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND A PREACHING SERVICE AND A SMALL GROUP.
INVITE SOMEONE TO COME WITH YOU.
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY: SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
Describe your usual way of handling conflict with others?
How can conflict affect your long-term health?
What did humans personal attempt to become like Gods, do to their relationships with each other?
Gen 3:12 And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Gen 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
Mar 9:33-37 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Taking a child, He set him before them and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”
How is Jesus’s approach to greatness different from others?
What do you find most difficult about peacemaking or conflict resolution?
Why does peacemaking matter?
Mat 5:9 “Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!
Why do you think peacemakers get persecuted so much?
Mat 5:9-11 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
What would pursuing peace with all people look like for you?
Heb 12:14-15 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Why does holding onto anger steal your peace?
Eph 4:26-27 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Who would you need to stop being angry and bitter toward?
Eph 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Why is pursuing peace as a church so important?
Co 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.