Being Salt and Light as a Peacemaker
2020 has been a year of hurt, and one thing that has affected most of us is division in relationships. The peace that we once felt is gone because of all the outliers that this year brought. And there was no way for us to see them coming (thanks 2020!). Marriages are hurting. Parent-child relationships are suffering. Extended families are fighting, and friends are no longer talking. How do we show the world what Jesus looks like when everyone is so divided and it feels like every which way that we turn, we are stepping into deeper conflict? It simply feels like there. is. no. peace.
Have you read the story of Esau and Jacob? If not, make sure to check it out. You can find it sewn into Genesis 25-33. In the meantime, here is the recap: Esau was the eldest son of Isaac. Being an eldest son in the ancient world comes with specific responsibility and the expected birthright from father to son. His twin brother, Jacob, was born second. Even as kids, Jacob always wanted Esau’s birthright and made sure to scheme his way into getting what he wanted. Nothing changed as they got older and Jacob legitimately tricked his dying father into giving him Esau’s blessing. Esau was really mad. Like really, REALLY, mad. He said he wanted to kill Jacob for what he had done which prompted their mother to find a way to convince Jacob to flee for his life.
Years and years go by, and circumstances require Jacob to head back to Esau. Naturally, Jacob is pretty worried about Esau’s reaction. Remember, the last time they were around one another, Esau wanted to kill Jacob. After putting together a pretty hefty bribe for Esau (hoping that his heart will soften a little bit), Jacob shows up and sees Esau. Looking really comfortable… surrounded by 400 of his men. Talk about seeing the end of your life right in front of you. So what does Esau do?
“But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept (Genesis 33:4).
Can you imagine the peace that Jacob would have felt?
We are called to this as well. We are meant to be peacemakers. We are meant to be ministers of reconciliation. What if this Christmas season, we chose to be salt and light in our relationships that are currently fractured? Is it even possible to respond as Esau did?
This actually happened here at Grace pretty recently. There is a woman at our church that had a very fractured relationship with her extended family. There was a lot of hurt and they did not speak for over ten years. She tried calling more than once. She even sent a Christmas card explaining how Jesus has changed her entire life. No response.
Until one day they did respond. The family decided to come reconnect with her family for the first time. Now they see each other every week and their relationship is really solid. Peace. Her children now have other people in their lives that love them. Peace. And most importantly, that prompting that she received from the Lord, “fix this. Reach out”, is now quiet. Peace
It might not work out for you in the same way that it did for her, but God will give you the strength to do the hard thing. The thing that many other people won’t do because it feels weird or scary or simply to vulnerable. When you think you have nothing left to give, remember you do. Because Jesus gave everything to us.
Ways to be salt and light this week as a peacemaker:
- Ask God for guidance on who you should begin reconciliation with.
- Write a letter explaining what God has done in your life.
- Send a Christmas card with photos of your family.
- Make the difficult phone call.
- Ask them how you can pray.
- Be the peacemaker at every family event. Virtual or in person. Make the choice to not argue and to do the right thing. Even when it is really hard.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9