Finding The Peace Point

 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” (Matthew 5:9, The Message)

Peace is as elusive as cheap gas. We’d like it, but we just can’t find it. And, of course, judging from the interstate traffic this weekend, we’re not willing to change our driving ways to find that middle point of budget-consciousness and still be participating in what are the important events of life.

Jesus had his differences with many folk of His day. From the gospel stories we encounter the Rabbi who would listen, offer a question that would bring the person toward a remedy of spiritual, emotional, and relational healing. Jesus was the Peacemaker and He was, and is, Peace. He didn’t compromise on the essential truths He instructed us to live by, but He didn’t build up barriers to communication with those who challenged Him.

In a culture that is as divided as oil and water, I seldom find people who point toward a position of peace. Trenches are dug, non-negotiables are set in cement, and offensive language is spoken. Cooperation is of minimal importance. Cooperation brings the differing factions closer to experiencing community, where the emphasis is not on winning or losing, gaining more followers, and being the superior side. Community brings out what we have in common and agree upon.

Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Jesus’ blessing of those who are peacemakers points me to the essence of the issue. “Show people how to cooperate instead of compete.”

A push to cooperate is usually met with responses that start with the words “Yes, but…” Behind them you can hear the sound of a shovel digging the trench deeper. The point of peace, however, usually has a bungee cord attached to it that branches out in two, or more, directions. There’s give-and-take as dialogue draws people closer.

If Jesus came down on a certain side, it usually was because of injustice toward those who didn’t have a voice, people who no one considered important enough to listen to. He was unbending on the essential truth that everyone is valued by God the Father. He’d be the voice for those whose needs weren’t considered important.

Finding the peace point, individually and as a society, was His purpose, His mission. It should be ours as well but, once again, finding the peace point is as easy as finding cheap gas. Maybe we just need to walk more, instead of being in such a hurry to get somewhere.

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