You may not like him. You might not even know him. But you can be sure of this. You’re just like him.
You can see it in the way you smile or tell a joke. The way your eyebrows bunch up when you’re about to cry are another dead give away. Try all you want but it’s hard to cover up who you belong to.
You are a lot like your father.
We have phrases in our language that demonstrate this. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Chip off the old block. My wife uses a different one.
When my son takes his shirt off and does some inappropriate dance at some inappropriate time, she says, “That is your son.” Did I mention that my son is 25? I’m kidding. He’s 24.
Our lives demonstrate who we belong to. It’s seen in everything from our sense of humor and the way we deal with hardships to our baldness and eye color. We are all chips off the old block.
Jesus spoke to that near the beginning of his most famous sermon.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 (ESV)
To put it another way, God is pleased with you when you pursue peace because you are acting like him when you do.
The Bible gives us a lot of descriptions of God. Peacemaker is one of the most common. He brought us peace through the birth of his Son (Luke 2:14). Through his gift of faith, we have peace with him (Romans 5:1). The cross was his gift of peace to his people (Colossians 1:20). By his grace, he brought peace to us, his enemies (Ephesians 2:1-7).
God the Father is a peacemaker. We do not pursue peace with others so that maybe one day we might get to be a part of God’s family. We pursue peace with others because God has already made us a part of his family. He is our Father. Peace isn’t always easy and we don’t always pursue it like we should but peace is what you do when your Father is The Peacemaker.
This means that we will work to have homes where peace is evident, even when sometimes it feels more natural to yell, blame and resent. It’s the hard work that chips off the old block do.
We will also avoid the temptation to gossip about other people because we know that such talk is the enemy of peace. Instead, we will speak words of love. We will speak words of truth. We will speak words of correction. But never words of gossip. It’s just not consistent with who we belong to.
But what about the churches where there has been no peace for decades? You know the type. The ones where the people don’t know what to do with themselves if there’s not something to fuss about. You know, the ones that have had 12 pastors in the past 10 years and are still busy searching for the right one but not busy with the personal reflection that could lead them to the conclusion that they, not their old pastors, are the problem.
Or what of the people who always seem to be in the middle of a controversy? You know, the ones who continually spread rumors, tear others down and every few days launch one or two full on military assaults with their words, actions and attitudes.
Surely these people aren’t acting like their father too, are they?
Jesus’ words to a band of angry religious types who wanted him dead two thousand years ago are just as relevant for us today.
“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.'” John 8:42-44 (ESV)
The Creator and Sustainer of the universe goes to drastic measures to pursue peace. Satan, his enemy, has been a murderer from the beginning and speaks only lies.
Your pursuit of peace, even at great cost, isn’t a result of you being a really swell person. Your love of conflict, gossip and turmoil is more than a character flaw. These attitudes, words and actions are more like the results of a spiritual DNA test revealing who your real father is.
You may not like it. You might not even know it. But you can be sure of this. You act just like him. Your father.
That’s not in dispute. The only question is, who is your father?