"I say this often, but if we ask the Holy Spirit if we should say that thing we just said about someone, He will never agree with us."

BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). These were Jesus’ words in His longest recorded sermon. Immediately following these, in the next verse, the children of God are called blessed when they suffer persecution, when people speak evil against them falsely. In other words, being a peacemaker is how the children of God respond to persecution.

Continuing on in His sermon, Jesus flips the script. Having spoken to peacemakers as they undergo persecution, He then speaks to persecutors saying, “Don’t use the law to hide your anger, as a way to hold onto unforgiveness, or as a covering for lust. Instead, walk in purity of heart, in meekness, and with mercy.” Sound familiar? These were those types of people also blessed at the beginning of this passage. These are the behaviors of our wonderful, loving heavenly Father, who Jesus came to reveal to men. He is humble. He is righteous. He is the God of peace.

A peacemaker does not cause division. He doesn’t speak to cause strife nor to bring condemnation or humiliation. Making someone the butt of a joke is not being a peacemaker. Neither the hatred of the one nor the laughter of the other makes for peace. People will condemn hatred and criticism but embrace humor made at someone’s expense. The joy of the Lord is our strength, yes, but the joy of the Lord is not an excuse to hurt people. Would someone come to Christ because they have been the butt of your joke? Jesus was mocked. What of those men? Should He have done in kind and not died for them? He died for all. Consider also Zacchaeus, he was a tax collector and hated by most people, yet when Jesus ate at his table, he repented of his behavior and pledged to pay back what he’d stolen.

The Scripture says to not accuse a servant to his master, and in another location to not judge another man’s servant. Authority is given to men so that they become greater servants. As Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, a man in a position of authority washes the feet of those He holds authority over. Jesus spoke against the Pharisees for their lack of love toward those they were to protect (Mt 23:14).

Where in God’s love, which sent Jesus to earth, is there room for tearing someone down? God is mercy and forgiveness. Conviction for sin is His job alone. We are to love others regardless of their beliefs. Even if they are dead wrong, we love them. We suffer persecution, not retaliating as those do who are consumed by their flesh. And here is the key. We are to stand firm in the face against the will of ungodliness to corrupt government, education, society, and the church, but we do so IN THE SPIRIT.

Here is another excuse people have used for their behavior. Yes, Jesus tossed out the moneychangers from the temple, but He said every word He spoke was the Father’s, and every work He performed was the Father’s. Jesus’ actions in the temple that day were done IN THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT. He spoke to the behavior of religious leaders because He was WALKING IN THE SPIRIT. I say this often, but if we ask the Holy Spirit if we should say that thing we just said about someone, He will never agree with us. He is love. He does not approve of our criticism of people.

“All thanks, acclaim and recognition be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—for he is the Father of mercy, compassion and healing— who provides Remedy for everything that troubles our minds and warps our characters, so that we can share this Remedy, which has brought peace to our minds, with everyone in any distress.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Jesus came to recreate in us a new spirit man. When we are saved, we are born again or anew. We then, through the Holy Spirit, renew our thinking, we change it to be like Christ’s. Rather than defend our thoughts and reactions, we seek to not think as we used to. As He would speak to that situation we are facing, we also speak, the Spirit giving us the correct words, and yes, sometimes people react with hatred or mocking. Here is persecution. But it is not that Jesus wished it on us but that He knew how people without Christ in their inner being will act, and He knew that the power of God in us would enable us to stay the peacemaker.

Christ in me can make a difference in others. I carry the presence of God into wherever I go. Through my words and actions, through Him in me, I plant seeds in the hearts of people. That clerk at the grocery store, having a bad day, finally smiles. That person on aisle 5, struggling with their health, feels better. God is merciful. What if I chose mercy instead? Without His mercy, I would not be here. I carry this thought everywhere. Let my rejoicing be in God, my Savior, in answered prayer, in His presence within me, and never because of someone else’s appearance, beliefs, or mistakes. Let me show peace. Let me share His peace and look like my Father.

MATTHEW 5:13-16
(13) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
(14) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
(15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
(16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

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Suzanne D. Williams, Author