Peace in Troubled Times
Peace in Troubled Times

Peace in Troubled Times

Peace in Troubled Times

The election was in question. The nation was overwhelmed with unrest and division. Accusations of improprieties and voter fraud were flung frequently from both sides of the aisle. Many openly called for the banishing of the electoral college system. Sound familiar? Remind you of 2020? Or 2000?

The year was 1876, the end of U.S. Grant’s second term as president and, from his perspective, the country was on the brink of another Civil War. The man who committed every fiber of his being to ending that war now made it his mission to be the prince of peacemakers. He would see this election through with a unified nation, even if his party didn’t win.

This brought to mind two verses, Romans 12:18, which we will study in this week’s sermon, and Matthew 5:9. Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” We’ve talked quite a bit about this verse during the Wednesday night study on forgiveness, giving emphasis to the phrase, “if possible.” We should strive for peace while recognizing it’s not always possible and sometimes not welcomed. Second is Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” There’s no greater joy than walking in the awareness of your identity as a child of God. This verse says that those who pursue peace experience that reality.

Christians are Called to be Peacemakers

These two verses remind us that, as Christians, we do not have the privilege of holding grudges, harboring bitterness, or continuing to cause division. We gave up that ‘right’ when we submitted our lives to Christ. Now we walk in the freedom of knowing He is the one that will ultimately handle the situation; Vengeance is His. We are now free from being controlled by the vindictive actions of someone else.

Grant worked to create an electoral commission comprised of a balance of elected officials and judges from both parties and left the decision to the commission. There were many ups and downs along the way and, of course, few political processes are without corruption, yet he trusted the process. He focused on moving the nation toward peace and away from division. Finally almost four months after the election, both parties agreed to support Rutherford B. Hayes as the next president of the United States. The looming threat of another war was subverted.

Take a moment to think of one way you can act out your call as a Christian to be a peacemaker today. Think of a situation where your gut reaction is to lash out and, instead, pray for wisdom for how to act in a way that honors Christ. You never know how God might use one small display of peacemaking to move another person one step closer to Christ.

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