One night, in my earlier years of pastoring in Dubbo, I decided to call on a young man who had recently been baptised. As I approached the front door I heard very loud abusive and threatening language coming from inside. An intense domestic quarrel was obviously in full progress. I concluded that it was not an appropriate time for a house call and started to retreat across the front lawn. To my horror, the dog started barking! Suddenly the porch light came on and the front door opened. There in front of me stood the young man I had come to see – complete with shot gun in hand and a bullet belt over his shoulder. He immediately beckoned me to come in, insisting that I was just the person they wanted to see.
With considerable apprehension, I followed him into the house. Inside was a man lying on the lounge room floor and sitting on top of him was quite a robust-looking woman. Around the perimeter of the room were standing several members of the family. It seems an argument had started and continued to the point where the woman had rushed to the cupboard for the shot gun and bullets, presumably to ensure that she held the balance of power. It was her deep voice I had heard from outside the front door, shouting obscenities and threats at the man she was now sitting on.
Apparently my timing had been perfect. The young man had only just seized the weapon and ammunition when he heard the dog bark. Now he was looking to me to be the peacemaker.
As I stood in the doorway and stared in bewilderment at the scene before me, the young man ushered me in and introduced me as the local pastor. The two on the floor staggered to their feet rather sheepishly. They had both been drinking and looked a bit worse for wear. I suggested that a prayer was in order – I think more for my benefit than theirs. Prayer is always the best answer in a crisis and I figured that I sure had one at the time. As I began to close my eyes she stepped forward and grasped my hand, tears flowing down her cheeks. He joined in by holding her hand and mine too!
So, there we were, standing in a circle, holding hands in the middle of the battlefield, eyes closed, praying to God, surrounded by the neutral observers holding the confiscated weapons. Lord, I thought to myself, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) I said a prayer and then spoke a few words of general encouragement and made a fairly hasty exit as a cease-fire seemed to have been established.
The true significance of that Scripture which had come to mind was not fully realised until several years later when that same woman came along, was baptised by full immersion and wonderfully filled with God’s Spirit speaking in tongues as the scriptural evidence. At that point, she had made her peace with God. Blessed indeed are the peacemakers.
“Blessed – enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous [that is, with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favour and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions] – are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!” – Matthew 5:9 (Amplified Bible)
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” – 2nd Corinthians 5:20