Matthew 5:9-10 (NIV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Maybe it is Matthew 5:9 that keeps many Christians from making our voice heard in the political arena. Should we just leave it to the politicians and pundits to speak for us? In Matthew 5:9 Jesus tells us, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ And then proceeds to tell us that that we are blessed when we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Why would anyone persecute a ‘peacemaker.’
We have all heard the warning to avoid discussion about religion and politics. I never understood that directive. Avoiding conflict is not necessarily a good thing. If we are only concerned with ‘keeping the peace,’ we allow ourselves to be marginalized. Intelligent debate is good for personal growth and for the good of society.
49 “Everyone will be made cleaner and stronger with fire. 50 Salt is good. But if salt loses its taste, how can it be made to taste like salt again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with each other.” Mark 9:49-50 (NLV)
As Christians, we are called to be salt and light. Peacefully engaging in civil discourse is one way of doing that. What good are we if we are not willing to stand up for righteousness? We can, however, learn from those with whom we disagree. We must be gracious as we listen to other perspectives. We must educate ourselves on the facts, not only listen to sound bites and read bumper stickers. We must also seek wisdom, measuring the facts against the Truth. Finally, we must not fear communicating our perspective. We need to be involved in the political system. This means taking part at the local, state, and national level. It takes time and it takes effort.
While seeking justice in our courts, expecting integrity and good stewardship from our leaders, and taking a stand for morality in our society, may bring ‘persecution’ our way. We should consider it a privilege.. and a responsibility. We cannot expect that we will never be in conflict with anyone. Remaining silent, however, does not make us peacemakers.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12 14-15(NIV)