For they shall be called sons of God.
– Matthew 5:9
I have a confession to make. I like UFC. There are probably a number of people reading this that don’t even know what that is. For those that don’t, it’s a mixed martial arts sporting league called Ultimate Fighting Championship. Some of you are aghast that your pastor would like UFC. Nobody’s perfect 😉.
Trust me, I have a point in making the confession … If you’ve ever watched a fight in UFC or boxing, you know that every match has a referee. The referee is there to make sure the fighters obey the rules (yes, there are rules in fighting sports). From time to time, when you’re watching a match, one of the fighters will be getting pummeled and the ref will have to jump in between the fighters to stop the match. Oftentimes, when that happens, the ref takes a punch or two, himself. No doubt, the ref doesn’t go into the ring expecting to get hit, but he knows that it goes with the territory of the job.
Again, I do have a point. I promise.
I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are a lot of fights going on right now. And I have observed that a lot of my brothers and sisters in Jesus have an impulse to jump into the fight, like a referee in a UFC or boxing match. I understand this impulse. Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and Christians often have a deep desire to bring peace between waring parties. But if you jump in while the fists are flying, don’t be surprised if you get hit, and end up bloody.
A peacemaker is an individual who endeavors to reconcile those engaged in a disagreement. The desire to bring reconciliation and harmony is—I believe—a divinely inspired desire. But it is only possible if we recognize and understand where such reconciliation and peace are found. These are only found in and through the Gospel.
having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
The divisions of this world are always and ultimately the result of sin. And only Jesus—the Prince of Peace—can bring salvation from sin. So, don’t be a ref. Be a peacemaker. Preach peace in Jesus. Every other message will eventually fall flat, and is likely to get you hit.