Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
In a 1980 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan fended off a criticism by President Carter by saying, “There you go again.” Many believe Reagan’s response was pivotal in turning the election in his favor.
In recent days, The Forever Notebook has focused on our responsibility to be peacemakers. It occurred to me that your response to the topic for the day might be the same as that of the former president, “There you go again.”
Have your children ever accused you of repeating the same instruction too many times?
“Come straight home from school?”
“You told me that yesterday and the day before.”
“I don’t want you hanging out with that boy.”
“Why do you keep saying that?”
“Have you finished your homework?”
“You asked me that ten minutes ago.”
Your ultimate response: “And I will keep on saying it until you get it right.”
God does the same thing. There are some issues in scripture that occur over and over again. God’s children, like our children, have a tendency to be hard of hearing. We selectively ignore certain directives that don’t fit into our plans or preferences.
Let’s face it, some of God’s expectations are difficult to implement. Love my enemies. Really? Bless those who persecute me? Surely not. Forgive as God forgives? But, what about my ex-husband or ex-wife? Have you forgotten what he/she did to me?
Actually, we benefit when we obey God. Notice the promise in our focus text from James 3:18. “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
To better understand this scripture, let’s back up a little and examine what led up to this instruction. In James chapter 3, the author speaks of the importance of taming our tongue. “The tongue… is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (v6)
Beginning at verse 13, James addresses two kinds of wisdom; heavenly wisdom from God, and earthly wisdom described as “unspiritual” and “demonic.”
Earthly wisdom is described in verses 14-16:
… if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Conversely, heavenly wisdom (v17) looks like this:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Heavenly wisdom begins with a clean heart, pure, without hidden agenda or malice.
Consider each of the following characteristics of Godly wisdom, all of which work together to make us peacemakers.
- Pureness of heart
- Full of mercy and good fruit
Then James adds, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (v18)
Are you in the midst of a tumultuous situation that needs to resolved? Ask God to give you His wisdom to diffuse the matter. Approach it with prayer and emulating the characteristics of Godly wisdom. Be the peacemaker.
Just think of how much better our world would be if we had more peacemakers.
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Key to Better Relationships
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.