By Greg Quinn
November 2, 2005
Today is a beautiful day. It’s early morning, the sun is just coming up. The season is early fall. Actually, this morning feels like the first day of Autumn, even though it officially started a few weeks ago. The air is a bit brisk and clean. The sky is clear but a bit gray. It’s the start of a beautiful day, and a beautiful time of year in Tennessee. It won’t be long until we’ll be donning our hunting clothes and taking our favorite guns out to take game in a variety of hunting seasons, from dove to duck, from goose to turkey, from 'coon to deer.
Mornings like today are peaceful. It makes me appreciate living in a region where there is largely peace. We don’t have a lot of crime. We rarely hear about murders locally. We don’t even have a lot of petty crimes, perhaps because most of us own guns and would-be intruders don’t want to get shot. Whatever the reason, it’s a fairly peaceful area, in a peaceful time of year, and today is starting like a very peaceful day.
Not everyone can make this claim. While I relish in the benefits of living in middle Tennessee country, I recognize there are other places in the US and across the globe where peace is hard to attain. From gang-wars in LA, to muggings in NYC, to vandalisms in inner cities everywhere, to constant warring in the middle East, peace is something that is very hard to find. Even here, where our problems are few compared to most places, the war that sends our relatives and friends from the nearby 101st Airborne Division of the Army to Iraq is a consistent reminder of how far we are from attaining peace.
Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew 5:9, says the following:
“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.”
What would it be like to be considered a child of the almighty God? God, who is a God of wrath and who opposes evil and sin, is also a God of love and mercy. The Bible teaches us that “God is love” and that we cannot really understand the concept of love until we accept the love of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ his Son. If we have done so, then we have tasted the unconditional love that is the basis of God’s personality. God loves us so much, that even while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Unconditional love that covers our evil nature. Love that transcends the penalty of sin and that restores a right relationship between man and God, the Creator. While we truly cannot fathom the depths of God’s love in our human mind, if we could but close our eyes and think of a world totally in peace, where everyone loved everyone else, where there were no wars or murders or fighting or selfishness, where our mission was to love God and serve other people, then we would begin to understand at least the fringes of the love of God.
What would it be like to be considered a child of the almighty God? Our own kids typically come out with features and personalities much like one or both of their parents. My son Justin has characteristics of both me and his mother. He looks like a combination of the two of us (but is better looking than Dad, thankfully getting most of his looks from his mother). He has personalities like the both of us. Many times he acts and looks just like his dad, and many times he acts and looks just like his mom. I have characteristics of both my mom and dad; while I look like my dad and have many of his character traits, I also have attributes of my mom. So, our children are recognized by those that know the parents because they have physical or personality traits like their parents. Our kids “resemble” us and are often known by the context as related to their parents.
What would it be like to be considered a child of the almighty God? As children most often have the nature of their parents, if we were a people of love, and this love shown through peace toward our fellow man, then we would be recognized as a child of God. Just as those that know our parents can recognize us as their children through comparative features (physical or personality-wise), so it is that those who know God can recognize another child of God through comparative features. Since we don’t know exactly what God looks like physically, we know that we are children of God by how much of God’s personality we carry with us. And, since the personality of God is love, the magnification of this love that we carry with us on earth results in peace of one man toward another.
When Jesus said, “To be blessed are those that make peace, for they shall be known by others as children of God” (paraphrased), means that others can tell we are a child of God by how we strive to live peaceably with our fellow man. “Peacemakers” means one who carries an active, intentional attitude toward making peace. While we live in a day where peace is hard to find, perhaps this is because there are too few of us that claim to be children of God that carry with us this intentional desire and attitude toward the development of peace.
Making peace does not mean being totally opposed to war when war is right (see the Greg’s Corner article, “Is it Right to Fight?”). Making peace doesn’t mean we let others run over us, or that we don’t protect our family and possessions from those that would do us harm. But, making peace means doing everything we can to avoid war and avoid strife and to live peaceably with others around us. Making peace means to understand that as children of God, whose nature is love, that if we show enough of God’s nature (love) to others around us, that peace will prevail. And, by being one who is consistently in a position of making peace and showing love, that people will recognize us as children of God.
I’m proud to be a child of J.P. and Lorene Quinn. I am more proud to be a child of God. Perhaps if I, as well as those reading this article, will be more cognizant of our responsibility to carry the message of peace and love, the message of salvation through Christ, the message of the unconditional love of God, to those around us in an evil world, that we can make a difference in the world in which we live. And, we can be called “peacemakers”.
- Greg Quinn
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