Blessed are the Peacemakers

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“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” This phrase is taken from the famous Sermon on the Mount found in the book of Matthew of the New Testament.

WHAT’S A PEACEMAKER?

We often think of a peacemaker as someone who settles disputes, but in this context the word peace indicates something more. It comes from a Greek word, Eirene (i-rah-nay) which means to set at one again in quietness and rest (Strong’s Concordance). So, what was Jesus really saying? In John 14:27, he told his disciples that he gave them peace but not like the secular image of peace. He went on to say, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Sounds to me like he’s talking about inner peace.

INNER PEACE COMES FROM INSIDE—THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED “INNER” PEACE

According to the Tao Te Ching, “In order to maintain calm (peace), one has to feel oneself as an integral part of the Absolute. Then one does not develop false ego-centric desires.” In other words, The Absolute, the Almighty, is not an entity that exists outside of us but is an ever-present part of us. We can’t obtain what Paul calls “peace from God,” by keeping laws, following rules, buying things, controlling others, etc. We must recognize that only by believing that we are who God says we are (and it’s always good. People assign “badness” to us, not God. Our Creator loves us, believes in us, values us, and appreciates us.) There are those who are out of alignment with who they really are, who do horrible, ungodly things to others and to themselves, because they don’t know who and what they really are; the spirit within them seems dormant, but it’s there, just waiting to be awakened, to be born again.

STOP TRYING TO “FIX” EVERYTHING

I love what the great teacher, Wayne Dyer, said about peace and I believe he is onto something, “Peace is the result of retraining the mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” Or as the Apostle Paul said, “Be content with such things as you have.” (Hebrews 13:1)

I remember reading one time, “Two men looked out of prison bars. One saw mud. The other saw stars.” They were in the same situation, but one was at peace and hopeful while the other was depressed and in turmoil.

PEACE RELINQUISHES THE NEED FOR POWER AND CONTROL

Paul referred to God as the “God of peace.” God is love. Love casts out fear. Fear has torment so there is no peace in fear. All motivations ultimately come down to one of two motivations: Love or Fear. Greed comes from fear and greed, the love of power and the fear of not having it, is at the core of every inhumane act on the planet.

Therefore, any act done in fear or out of its off-spring, greed, is not an act of peace, not an act of love, therefore, it’s not an act of God, because remember God doesn’t have love. God IS love. (See I John).

Did you ever think that maybe if each person in the world found inner peace that there would also be outer peace? Outer turmoil is a sign of inner turmoil.

Again, I quote from the Tao Te Ching, “Being satisfied with little, you can gain much. Seeking much, you will go astray. The wise heed this percept. If it could only be so with all people! The wise trust not only their physical eyes, thus they can see clearly. The wise do not think that they alone are right, thus they know the truth. They do not seek glory, yet people respect them. They do not seek power, yet people follow them. They do not fight against anyone; thus no one can vanquish them. They do not feel pity for themselves; thus they can develop successfully. Only those who do not seek to be ahead of others are capable of living in harmony with everyone.”

DON’T STOP DANCING

Joseph Campbell, the great student of mythology and world religions, had studied many cultures and came to a conclusion that no matter where people were from, if they failed to be true to that inner guidance system, that voice inside them urging them to follow their “calling,” at some point they would feel regret from not doing it. I recall specifically, a story of a ballerina who gave up a promising career in dancing, because her husband was threatened by her success. She gave up her dancing, her passion, her gifting, her call in life. Many times in her life she lamented giving up the dancing, always telling her children how she once was an excellent ballerina. Years later, after the husband was long gone and her kids were grandparents, she was alone in a nursing home, in her nineties with dementia. She couldn’t remember anyone’s name but she remembered how to dance, so she would get up beside her bed, do ballet and bask in the applause of her imagined audience. She finally found her inner peace. The point of this story is two-fold, no matter how much we “love” someone, it is never required that you hide your light under a bushel to appease their insecurities. That will not bring you peace. We cannot forsake our life’s calling because someone else is afraid to follow theirs.

LET PEACE GUIDE YOUR STEPS

In Romans 14:19, Paul encouraged those who be “in the Way” to follow after the things which make for peace and in another place, he urged the believers in the Way to let the peace of God guide them, rule in their hearts. He encouraged them in Ephesians to have their “feet shod” with the preparation of the good news of peace. This peace which comes from I Am passes all mental acknowledgment and understanding. It’s a spirit thing.

A few years ago, a woman attempted to cost me my job. She held a magnifying glass over my professional life and constantly pointed out all of my flaws, which were, and still are, many. She nitpicked at my inadequacies, pointing them out to my boss and to the people I worked with.  She repeatedly brought up the “sins of my past” and made me feel so small. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. My stomach churned. My heart ached and I grew bitter, at her, at those around me. Every time I saw her, I ached. I seethed with self-loathing. Why couldn’t I be good enough? My body was under control. I had sold myself to the cause, to the mission and had sacrificed a well-paying job to be where I was and now, on a daily basis, I was being raked over the coals for little things that didn’t even matter in the grand scheme of things, but these little things were monstrous to her and pretty soon, I started to doubt my self-worth.  I have a tendency to look at the overall plot of life and I may not get hung up on the typos of life. She was the type of person who zeroed in on the typos of life and overlooked the plot or the effect that constantly pointing out the typos was having on the characters. In fact, to her, the typos of life were life itself. They mattered most or so it seemed to me.

She was puffed up with pride over my downfalls, or that’s what I thought. And though I apologized a million times, nothing I said redeemed me in her eyes. Then one day, during my vacation time, I was hoeing my vegetable garden, trying to pray, trying to find peace within myself, tears sliding down my cheeks. Why did it matter so much that this woman was condescending to me? Yet, I could not find the peace I sought. Then a knowing, like a whisper from a far shore, came to me, “Forgive her.”

“What?” I said. “Forgive her? She’s the one who has found flaws with me and she won’t forgive me for not being perfect. She will say that I’m forgiven because she wants to look spiritual, but in her mind I’m still not good enough. What she really wants is for me to be fired or to just be totally broken as a person.”

The soul-whisper came again, “You can’t make another person forgive you. You can’t make her like you,” came the knowing in my knower. “You can only release the pain that her unwillingness to accept you for who you are has caused you and you must forgive her for making you dislike who you are, for picking your life apart, for fault-finding, for trying to get you fired.” I dropped my hoe and held my hands up in surrender, speaking to my maker. “I forgive her,” I said. “I don’t understand her, but I do forgive her.” A sense of peace swept over me and I when I went back to work, she had no power over me. I was free from her hold and strangely enough, I think she knew it.

Not long after that I learned that the woman was severely OCD, that she had such strong perfectionistic tendencies that she drove even herself crazy and it had come because nothing she did had ever been good enough for her mother and suddenly, I felt sad for her, that she had lived her entire life, trying to perform, to work her way into God’s grace and into social acceptance. I was glad for my “freedom”, the freedom to be imperfect, the freedom to just be me. The truth about her was that she had low self-esteem and made herself feel better by belittling those she deemed as “less perfect” and by that I mean that she obsessed over which way the canned food labels were turned and that when any little thing was out of order, she became an emotional basket-case and barged into the supervisor’s office in tears, that she called the board and insisted on getting what she wanted. Within two years she was gone and I kept my job until I was ready to leave on good terms.

My point in telling this is that there will always be those people’s whose expectations we can’t live up to, but we aren’t meant to live up to someone else’s expectations. We aren’t meant to be molded into someone else’s idea of perfection, but we are meant to forgive and until we forgive, we are letting someone else control our lives. Unforgiveness will make a person bitter and sick.