My friend Josh Ross, the preacher at Sycamore View Church of Christ in Memphis, has written a book designed to help Christians navigate another messy election season without losing our Christian witness or our Kingdom credibility in an unbelieving world. When Christians wholeheartedly adopt the ways and means of our national political parties and politicians–insults, division, threat, fear, anger, etc,. — we forfeit our legitimacy in proclaiming the love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and unity of Jesus. Josh’s book, Coreology, outlines six core principles for keeping us straight, for keeping our eyes on Jesus and focused on his mission.

We’ve already looked at three of these principles. Today, let’s consider the next one.

#4 – I will strive to become a peacemaker.

Josh begins this chapter with our Lord’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, blessing the peacemakers for “they will be called children of God.” He doesn’t bless those who have peace or those who talk about peace or those who wish they had peace; he lifts up those who make peace. Why? Because making peace is a very God-like thing to do. When you make peace, you’re acting like God, like one of his children.

In a world that operates on division and war, on aggression and violence, it’s hard for almost anybody to take peace seriously. I can’t think of a country or a political party that touts peacemaking as an essential component of national security, economic stability, or foreign policy. It’s not the tagline for anybody’s political ad. After all, one of the easiest and most effective ways to unite people is to create a common enemy. But peacemaking should be at the heart of what motivates God’s children as we engage the people and systems of this world. If we rally to defeat our opponents, to “own” them instead of make peace with them, we’re unable to witness for Christ. Philip Kenneson says:

“We find ourselves offering not an alternate vision of how God would have us live together that is rooted in his peace and wholeness, but merely a legislative agenda we would like to see advanced that would make us feel more at home in society.”

Josh says when all you care about is wins and losses, all you are left with are casualties. Josh quotes Ed Stetzer here:

“You can’t hate people and engage them with the Gospel at the same time. You can’t war with people and show the love of Jesus. You can’t be both outraged and on mission.”

If God has established peace by reconciling us to himself through the cross of Jesus, then we must do all we can to embody that eternal reality right now today. Christians lay down our weapons for tools of planting and harvesting. Christians build bridges, not walls. Christians see the image of our God in every man, woman, and child on this planet. Christians accept all who will come to the table of Christ. Children of God are peacemakers. Those are Jesus politics.