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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall be called the children of God.
—Matthew 5:9

The schoolyard was just across the street from the church. One afternoon I looked out the window and saw two circles beginning to form. In one of them two kids had their fists up, waiting to see who would throw the first punch. It didn't look like a serious fight, but then most fights don't in their first phases.

A dozen or so other students formed a circle around the two. As they waited to see what was going to happen they egged the kids on. They were there for a fight. It wasn't their fight, but that didn't matter. They were there for a fight.

As soon as I walked out things began to calm down a bit. The expectations of the kids in the outer circle were clear. Now that an adult was present he would separate the two adversaries, get upset with them, perhaps report them to the principal, and certainly give them a stern reprimand.

But a glance at the two fighters redirected the story. It was clear that they were only in a fight because they “had to” to maintain a reputation. The only people who really wanted the fight were the spectators. They could scarcely believe it when I chastised them instead of the two “culprits.”

“Whose fight is it?” I asked.

“Theirs,” they answered.

“No, isn't it really yours?” I asked. “Aren't you the ones forcing them into this? Aren't you the ones who want to see somebody hurt but don't want any hurt yourselves?”

Slowly they began to disband. It just so happened that there were some cookies in the church.

“Come on over,” I said. The two kids followed. Before long you would never have known they were enemies. They were, in fact, the peacemakers. Their circle of friends were the war makers.

If we are to be peacemakers, just choosing to not fight may not be enough. We must also choose not to encourage fighting between others.       

God of grace and glory, help us realize that we are called to be peacekeepers, and help us remember the gift of hospitality that shows us the way. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Copyright ©2008 Larry Pray.