“I ain’t happy!” I shouted as one of my crew stood in front of me. We had just missed an inspection which meant a concrete pour would need to be pushed back. All I could see was liquidated damage claims coming from the general contractor and my company was already in deep trouble financially. “This is going to be like war!” I thought as I drove to the contractor’s job trailer.
Once inside a took off my hard hat and waited for the project super to come out of a meeting being held in his office. Muffled voices came through the door and I could tell none of them were happy. Suddenly the door burst open and three of the company’s top brass came toward me. I stood ready to be surrounded and all my arguments ran through my mind.
Jim Thompson, superintendent for Mission Construction, got in my face and said, “John, what is going on? I heard you cannot get that set of walls finished so we can have inspection tonight and in fact the city inspector left without passing off your work! This is going to be big trouble and you are holding the bag!”
Even though I knew some of what he was saying was true, I was angry, I needed to fight and said. “We lost at least a day because of your carpenter crew and now you want to pin the blame on us! Well, that ain’t going to work!” Expletives I won’t write here were mingled in both of our words and true anger was building.
Jim pushed me on the shoulder as he walked past me, and I grabbed him from behind to swing him around. Soon we were wrestling, the anger now exploding into violence. The other two men stepped in and tried to separate us. I finally let go of Jim but held his gaze. He said, “Just like you, John. A drunk who can’t get his work done then tries to put the blame on others. I want your company off this job, I am going to find a way to void your contract!”
I was shaking with anger and said in return, “Give it your best shot, Jim. You know your guys are as much to blame as my company is that we are so far behind. And speaking of drunks, isn’t that a fifth of scotch you have in your desk drawer!” I headed toward the door but turned back and said, “You might as well have declared war because there will be no more peace on this jobsite. You can try to make my life miserable but believe me I will sure make yours even worse!” With that I slammed the door and sped off in my truck.
Most of my career as an Ironworker and most of my life as an addict was lived in a state of rage. Right under the surface lay this uncontrollable anger which seemed to govern who I was. The terrible thing was that there were and are so many who live exactly like that and I see it only getting worse as our world sinks deeper and deeper into the self-centeredness that breeds the violence we see around us every day now. Is there any hope?
Jesus stated, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) What can this verse mean in the face of a world in total conflict? Are we as followers of Jesus to become ‘peace freaks’ of the 1960’s, using the words love and peace that ring hollow because they seem to be just words without meaning? I think the answer is no. Not if we as followers are not living a life which is surrendered to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ! Because in is in that we will find peace and be able to become true peacemakers, hence sons of God.
I think that process of this is stated by Paul in the book of Colossians, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” (Colossians 1:20) Do you see it? Jesus has through the cross made peace between sinners and God. We can claim that peace only because of the reconciliation done in Jesus. Until we can except this we will always be at war with others and even more terrible with God Himself. That is the way I lived for over 40 years and that is the way I see the world around me sinking deeper into conflict.
Jesus’ brother James said this, “But wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18) If we are right with God, through the cross, the fruit of the Spirit, peace, will be given and it will show fruit in the traits of this verse and the Holy Spirit will work within us with a pure wisdom. Miraculously we become more considerate, submissive, and merciful. And in the world, that is so divided we can be impartial and sincere. In other words, peacemakers. Not an easy task but absolutely impossible without repentance and submission at the foot of the cross. Jesus calls but are we willing?
Years ago, I warred with contractors, friends, and family. I sought no peace, and none was found in my life. I cringe thinking about that guy and still every day thank a merciful God that I can sit here today truly peaceful. Not because my life is perfect but because I have a perfect Savior and it is in Him my peace is founded. He truly is the Prince of Peace! And today is a good day to accept His promise, “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) So, I can say today, peace brothers and sisters and mean it with all my heart.