Again Jesus juxtaposes one quality purposely in succession to another. He places peacemaking immediately after the call to purity. Peace always follows purity. The heart of evil is never at rest. We will never have the power to bring peace if peace does not live within us first. Peace begets peace, war, war. If we have war within, we will create war without. Peace within, peace without.
The people who bring peace are children of God, those who bring war….. Revenge is the easy, natural instinct to the animal nature, which we all carry with us. Yet, once born again we are called to a higher plane and are able to ascend there by the infusing power of the Holy Spirit. He forms the attitudes of Christ within us. Actions of war, and of evil are never justified by the fact that another did it to us first. God is the only one who qualifies as Judge. We are called to bring a soft answer to loud, aggressive language (Prov 15:1). Retaliation only makes a weeping wound worse. Jesus is the most profound example of the 'soft-answer' person. He is completely innocent of all wrong doing, in fact, only the opposite. He is guilty only of ever doing good, and not just good, but goodness that transforms the world for those He touches. Yet, in the absence of any justice, He is condemned to die like the worst of criminals. Hated for no reason, crucified without mercy. His retort - 'I forgive you'. He is not out for revenge. He is not claiming injustice. He is not seeking His rights. He is not crying, 'victim'. He is at peace, bringing peace when war rages against Him.
Peacemaking is not just about attitude and a soft answer though. Peacemaking calls for strategic wisdom and people skills that can evaporate violence in a climate of war.
See you in church!