James 3:13-18 reads, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 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. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Read that again.
Seriously, one more time please. This time pay particular attention to verses 17-18.
We have an obligation, according to James, to make sure we are peacemakers. Peacemakers who are pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Am I all of these things? Can I check all of those boxes? Because James says “peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
I’ve been blessed throughout my life to know such peacemakers. To learn from them, to grow closer to Jesus alongside of them, to put enough trust in them to, in turn, learn how to put my trust in Christ. It’s their lives I watched and emulated. It’s their example I followed. It’s their actions I worked to mimic. At least, that is, until I learned that those people were taking their cues from Jesus. Then, in maturity, I learned to focus on Him, take my direction from Him, and to become a peacemaker.
It has not been easy. It’s not easy to be a peacemaker in today’s world. There’s a lot of accusation in peacemaking. The left accuse you of being right. The right accuse you of being left. The faithful sometimes accuse you of being faithless. And the faithless… also accuse you of being faithless. And yet we’re called to be peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere in the face of every challenge, rebuke or persecution.
Don’t indulge in your baser instincts. Don’t submit to your old selves. You are a new creation. A part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation. You are called to be a peacemaker who preaches Christ and Christ-crucified. That doesn’t mean you shy away from proclaiming what is good and just and righteous. It means you do so with love, gentleness and a reputation becoming of your Lord and Savior.
There will always be accusers. Ignore their cries. There will always be those who malign your words and message. Stay above their fray. There will always be those who mock you. Let their words wash off of you as if the words are as powerless and meaningless as they are.
We are here for one purpose and one purpose alone: to go into this world of ours and tell people about Jesus. To show God’s love through our actions. To live out our faith while taking the gospel to anyone who will listen. These are our higher callings. These are our primary responsibilities. These are the things that lend meaning to our lives as peacemakers.
So take some time this weekend to sow peace and watch what the Lord does with it.