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Living Peacefully in a Violent World

John 16:33

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

I would like to reflect on a topic that is as pertinent to our times as it is timeless – finding peace in a violent world. We live in a world that seems to be increasingly characterized by violence, strife, and discord. Yet, as followers of Christ, we are called to be peacemakers, to live in harmony with others, and to promote love and understanding during conflict.


A powerful scripture on the subject comes from the book of Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." These words, spoken by Jesus Himself, serve as a mighty reminder that peace is our profession.


However, embodying this Beatitude is not a walk in the park. It demands courage, patience, and a deep-rooted faith in God's promise of peace. It requires us to confront our prejudices, to listen empathetically, and to speak truth in love, even when it is inconvenient or even dangerous. It often means choosing the path of resistance, standing against the tide of popular opinion, and risking ridicule or rejection.


In a world that often seems to be spiralling out of control, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. We see the violence and injustice that pervade our society, and we wonder how we can possibly make a difference. But as followers of Christ, we are not called to despair, but to hope. We are not called to fear, but to faith. And we are not called to violence, but to peace.


Yet, the rewards of being a peacemaker are immeasurable. As peacemakers, we experience the profound joy of seeing relationships restored, communities united, and hearts transformed. We witness the power of love and forgiveness in breaking down walls of hostility. Above all, we enjoy a deep sense of belonging and purpose, knowing that we are living out our calling as God's children.


In a world that glorifies power and dominance, the call to be a peacemaker may seem naive or even foolish. But let us remember that Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, has already triumphed over the world. His life, death, and resurrection have decisively defeated the forces of hatred and division.


As followers of Christ, we are called to continue His peace-making mission, trusting in His promise, and empowered by His Spirit. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can certainly influence our little corners of it - our homes, our workplaces, our communities. And who knows? Like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a large tree, our small acts of peace making may ripple out, bringing about transformation far beyond what we could ever imagine.


But what does it mean to be a peacemaker in a violent world? It begins with cultivating peace within our own hearts. This is not a passive peace, a simple turning away from conflict or avoidance of difficult issues. Rather, it is a proactive peace, a commitment to seeking reconciliation, justice, and love in every aspect of our lives.


It means, first and foremost, turning to God in prayer. Amid chaos and confusion, prayer can provide a sense of calm and clarity. It is through prayer that we can find the strength to face the challenges of our world, and the wisdom to navigate the complexities of our society.


Being a peacemaker also means striving to live in accordance with the teachings of Christ. It means treating others with kindness and respect, even when we disagree with them. It means standing up for justice and speaking out against violence in all its forms. And it means forgiving those who have wronged us, just as God has forgiven us.


Finally, being a peacemaker means working to create a more peaceful world. This can take many forms, from volunteering in our local community, to advocating for policies that promote peace and justice, to simply setting an example of love and compassion in our daily interactions with others.


In a world that often seems filled with violence and hate, it can be easy to lose hope. But as followers of Christ, we are called to be a light in the darkness, to bring hope to the hopeless, and to spread peace in a world of conflict.


Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that our peace does not come from the world, but from God. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding, a peace that is rooted in the knowledge that, no matter what happens, God is in control.


So let us go forth as peacemakers, confident in the knowledge that we are not alone, and that with God, all things are possible. May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.