Blessed Are the Peacemakers
(An American Christians Perspective & a Message to Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center)
These are dangerous times that we live in. It seems to be the norm today to let our emotions (or feelings) about what is happening define why and how we should react in any given situation.
A mentality of “offense first” then find the facts and hear the reasonable arguments has turned our beloved nation more and more reactionary in the last three decades.
And, most striking in these debates, the people who seem to take the lead more and more often in these cancerous battles tend to raise the cross of Christ as their standard in their venomous attacks.
And yet the Christ that I know, that the Bible attests to, seems to stand in stark contrast to his followers in His words & deeds.
In Christ’s first ‘stadium sized’ service ‘the Sermon on the Mount’, Christ taught “Blessed are the merciful (those who show unmerited favor) for they shall obtain mercy & blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” [Matthew 5:7,9]
It seems evident that Christ began His ministry with calling for an attitude of Peace.
He goes on to state powerful lessons in forgiveness [Mark 11:25-26, Luke 17:1-4], compassion [the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-31], more on Mercy [the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37] and humility [Matthew 20:25-28]. The Lord then tops it all off with the traits of those He considers righteous and those He does not [Matthew 25:31-46]. If you love Him keep His commandments, are your actions keeping His commandments? And as an American where should I stand?
The First Amendment to the Constitution states that we have ‘Freedom of Religion’, the right to believe in and practice your choice of religion, unencumbered by the state. And yet we see purely political calls for curtailing religious freedom under the guise of sensitivity to people’s feelings. Thankfully our founding fathers knew better and built this freedom into the foundational document of our republic.
So, what do the words of Christ and the Constitution have in common? Neither the Lord’s word nor our Constitution rely on, are contingent or even acknowledge one’s feelings. The responsibility to the rule of conduct must, in both these instances, trump emotions always, every time. Why? Simply put, our duty to our standards cannot be trusted to what we feel (since there is such a variety & diversity of feelings) on any given occasion. Imagine a total relinquishment to this mindset of ‘feeling over responsibility’ what chaos would ensue. Religious and civil anarchy would tear this nation asunder surely & quickly.
I have said this in the past and I will continue as long as the Lord gives me breath “Are we yet Christians, are we yet Americans?” If we claim these banners doesn’t it matter what they, foundationally, are calling us to do and be?
To be a peacemaker often means forgoing one’s emotional response all together and standing behind higher principles than one could attain from liking or disliking a person (action, place or ideology). “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” [Luke 6:27-28] These are giant words and a supernatural call to a whole new mindset in regards to how we should live – how we should want to live. Dare we, who wave the banners, aspire to their heights instead of the common, uninspired knee jerk reactionary existence? [Romans 13:9-10, Matthew 5:11-16, John 14:12]
So in regards to the proposed burning of the 1,000 Qu’rans in Florida on Sept. 11
Pastor Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center has stated that this action is warranted to show radical Islam that we (as Americans) are neither afraid of nor intimidated by their actions. Then, when pressed on this matter, the Pastor falls back on the old standards of ‘Islam is of the Devil’ and how Sharia Law is enforced in other countries and how the United States must stand against the spread of radical Islam (which, somehow, is threatening to overthrow our own government). Yet, not only does this proposed action fly in the face of our Christian mandates (see Paul’s directives in Romans 12:9-21) but the gathering cloud of threatened repercussions from these actions appears to put not only our fighting men and women into increasing danger, but those who are working hard and traveling overseas and most troubling of all has already ratcheted up recruitment by Al Qaeda as numerous young men are picking up the gun in this Pastors unintentional call for Muslim Jihad.
At the time of writing this message there seems to be some sort of détente on the bonfire if the proposed ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ (which is neither at Ground Zero, it is two blocks [New York blocks] away…not even in sight of the World Trade Center site, and nor is it a ‘Mosque’ but an Islamic Community Center open to all faiths with a prayer room in it) is relocated.
So, how is this supposed action any different than religious terrorism? Do what we say or we will do something to cause you pain? This action is viewed by Islamic countries as a pure, unadulterated attack on their beliefs in the most hostile and despicable manner.
So forget listening to reason or even take into consideration the immediate harm his actions may cause the children of America, Pastor Jones, like a common thuggie holds a religion hostage until he, and those who agree with him, are appeased, their unreasonable demands supposedly met.
Thankfully, the New Your Imam of the proposed Islamic center has rejected this idea of appeasement to instead stand up for peace. And no, appeasement and peace are not the same (just ask Neville Chamberlain or the Incas).
You can spend all day justifying tyranny, painting up the sow of despots; it never changes anything except that it makes good men weak and principled people apathetic witnesses to atrocities (i.e. Amin Dada in Uganda, Milosevic in Serbia and the list goes on and on).
Peace requires us, at times, to draw a line in the sand and take a stand. Peace at times means that we won’t accept injustice and bigotry, hatred and marginalization. True peace requires something from us when it is faced with all the evils that men do; and sometimes that response is to fight, as King did, as did Lincoln and Christ (in their own way). Sometimes true peace can only be achieved through sacrifice.
Christ said “If you love me you will keep my commandments” [John 14:15]. I am no Doctor of Theology but the scriptures seem pretty clear. I am no Constitutional Scholar but the Bill of Rights still reads the same. Again I ask – Are we yet Christians? Are we yet Americans? And are we these things, these affiliates, because we feel like we are or because we embrace the truths by which these Doctrines stand. Read Luke 17:1-4 and then see if the reflection in the mirror is of your retribution or of Washington, of retaliation or of Christ.
All praise to Yeshua Ha’Mashiach.
May you all be blessed – S. LaDon Ware (Steve) © 2010
* All Bible verses quotes from the Holman Christian Standard Bible
- Do Christians Burn Korans? A Voice Cries Out! (prnewswire.com)
- Aaron Toponce: An Open Letter To Pastor Terry Jones (pthree.org)
- CBS’s Smith Questions ‘Radical Islam’ Being America’s Enemy (newsbusters.org)
- Qur’an burning: Pastor Jones doesn’t speak for Christians | Daniel Webster (guardian.co.uk)
- Free To Choose – For Now (dakotavoice.com)
- ‘Burn a Koran Day’ Is Un-American and Not Christian (politics.usnews.com)
- Burning Qur’ans: Don’t Hate, Celebrate! (secularnewsdaily.com)