James summarizes chapter 3 with a final statement, “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” As I ponder the Bible, it seems like so many stories are tinged with finding peace through violence, through war, through wiping out the enemy. And yet Jesus says in the beatitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”
Webster defines peace first as freedom from civil disturbance. The world is not at peace as refugees flee and our cities have riots. OR: Peace is not being bothered mentally by disquieting thoughts or emotions. Suicide rates speak about a lack of that kind of peace. AND: Peace can refer to harmonious relationships socially as when Jacob sought to appease the anger to Esau by offering flocks of animals as he returned home. I suspect peace is different than appeasement. Fourthly, peace can be a period of time when we mutually agree not to shot each other. In the book Peace Child a tribe in Papua New Guinea would give a child from their tribe to their enemy to care for and as long as that child lived, there would be peace. The author points out that God gave his child, his son, to us to create peace and since Christ is God and lives eternally, relationship with Christ is eternal peace with God. Lastly “peace!” can be an interjection to stop an argument, perhaps similar to “be quiet.”
Peace means a lot of things to people and James shares that peacemakers, those who do not fall into the traps of doubt, favoritism, and gossip but can navigate through life by a spiritual north star, by wisdom, will reap a harvest of righteousness. Righteousness is being right with God and people, not being in conflict within or without, harmonious, content that our lives are in God’s hands. God does not tempt us nor lead us into evil. As we go about today may we find the solutions to whatever confronts and challenges us by returning our focus to a God who sees the big picture and who works outside our little boxes to bring peace with him for all. Blessings.