Shalom! Shalom!

ShalomI make people cry. 

It’s a gift.

It seems like all I have to do is to walk up to someone and simply say, “Hi!”and then watch as he or she BURSTS INTO TEARS. 

Tell you what. After awhile, that does something to you. 

Know what it does to me? FREAKS.ME.OUT!

This is but an indication of what life has become in our wobbly world. People who are desperate, struggling just to hold themselves and their families together. People who are in pain. People who are one sincere “Hi!” away from bursting into tears. 

Precious people in need of God’s peace! And we can give it to them!

That’s where this whole idea of what Jesus called “peacemakers” comes in.“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said, “for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). A “peace-maker.” Someone who brings a sense of God’s peace to other peoples’ lives.

Jesus even pronounced a special blessing on those who bring His peace to others. Namely, “They will be called the children of God” — a pretty lofty title, one that conveys the soaring reality that from God’s point of view there is no greater calling.

Come with me to Israel and you will hear the word Shalom used repeatedly, endlessly, upon every encounter with every person you meet. They say it when they greet you: Shalom! They say it when they depart from you: Shalom! And when they truly want to confer upon you God’s peace, they double the blessing: Shalom! Shalom!

As I think about this, maybe instead of greeting each other with an utterly insincere, “Hi. How are you?” we could start a new trend by greeting each other with a truly sincere, two-word Hebrew blessing: “Shalom! Shalom!”

I know of one apostle who would agree. Every one of Paul’s 13 New Testament letters begins with the words, “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Shalom! Shalom!

Peace. When you think of  peace, think of the pieces of the puzzles of our lives coming together to form a grand and glorious masterpiece, one that depicts a soothing scene of rest and repose. Think of all of the discordant notes in our lives somehow coming together in perfect harmony, resulting a symphony of serenity. 

By God’s touch of peace, He transforms our brokenness into beauty, our questions and confusion into a quiet composure, the parched desert of our distress into a cool oasis of refreshment. A calming contentment that floods our souls. His peace that no one can completely understand… His peace that controls the way we think and feel (Philippians 4:7).

By way of contrast, what is the opposite? You know the answer: Chaos, pandemonium, upheaval, tumult, conflict (within ourselves or with others), turmoil, confusion, distress, disorder, uncertainty, insecurity, fear, stress, anxiety, depression – the stuff that makes people cry when all I do is to say to them, “Hi.” 

The thing of it is, bringing a little peace to people is not that hard to do. It takes very little time, just a smidgeon of effort, and zero money. All it takes is a smile, a word of encouragement, a note of comfort, an email of thanks, a text message of love, a Facebook message that says, “I thank God for you.” A gift, a card, a phone call just to see how someone is doing. A heartfelt hug when a person you care about cries.

OK, be honest with me now. Did you, or I, do any of these simple (or similar) things for anyone today? Did you, or I, bring peace or discord into the lives of the people with whom we interacted today? Because the raw reality is, we did indeed bring one or the other.

Shalom! Shalom!

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