Thomas Hardy, Christmas, 1924 wrote: “Peace upon earth was said; we sing it and pay a million priests to bring it. After two thousand years of mass, we’ve got as far as poison gas.” Since then we have had the “H-bomb” and the “nuclear weapons” with no peace in sight. These devastating weapons were developed in countries where the peace of God in Christ was being proclaimed. The reason for their existence is that they were meant to be deterrents against those that intend to destroy our freedom. To our horror, human bombers are replacing our expensive chemical weapons. How can we reverse this trend?
Christians hope that God would step into our time again and halt this human madness. God has stepped into time and humans have not obeyed (Matthew 1:23; Luke 2:14; John 14:27). By nature, we covet and war against each other. We want what we cannot have and take it by force (James 4:1-12). Jesus and his first followers regarded such behavior as satanic (John 8:42-47). Satan has not ceased from scheming how to harm us (Ephesians 6:12; I Peter 5:8). The antidote against Satan is Christ (Matthew 4:1-11; Ephesians 6:11). Now, that we have allowed our legislators to remove his name and symbol from our culture, we are free game for Satan. Satan has used politics to free us from Christianity so he can enslave us with another system.
Is there a way out? The Bible tells us that there is; but it is up to us and not to God. We must humble ourselves, repent and return to God (II Chronicles 7: 14). Jesus even created a kingdom that shelters us from the devil like sheep from a wolf (Matthew 4:17; John 10:1-18). It is here that we are going in the wrong direction. Instead of going out into the world we have been restricted to buildings (Matthew 28:19). Jesus’ intention was that his followers become peacemakers. He told his followers: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons (children) of God” (Matthew 5:9). Unfortunately, we spent all our time appeasing Christians within our walls and have become unfit to serve the world.
Several days ago, in a Christian paper a person stated, “People do not want to become Christians because of the way we behave.” The answer was, “You offer them Christ and not you.” How far have we strayed? The world can see Christ only in us (Acts 4:13). In 1945, my mother’s brother was hauled into a torture chamber. When he saw the horror that was being committed to innocent human beings by human beings, he fell on his knees and cried out to God for these torturers and not a one laid a hand on him. They saw Jesus in this man. He was well known as a peacemaker. Through this man, peace entered a torture chamber.
Peace is humanity’s greatest need. The word “blessed” during the conditions it was used did not mean “being joyful” but a great benefit to the world. Those that are endowed with the ability to resolve our conflicts are a blessing to all of us. Particularly Christians who put their lives on the line for peace are clearly identified as being Children of the God of peace. Peace is not something that drops into our laps. It must be manufactured. In a way, we are all responsible for our peace. We must not leave unresolved problems unattended. Before we are hauled into court, we are required to settle with our accusers (Luke 12:58). We must forgive endlessly (Matthew 18:22). In addition, we must lessen their debt and guilt without compensation (Matthew 18:23-35). Peace is not just something we can keep within us. Jesus instructed the seventy-two he sent forth, “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man (person) of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you” (Luke 10:5).