Peacemakers and Prejudices

by Batya Wootten

Scripture reveals that “Peacemakers” will one day be called “the children of Yah.” They are “blessed” children in the eyes of their Father. To them, He extends His benefits; they are blessed, meaning to be envied, both in this life, and in the world to come.

Making peace brings blessings in this life and it makes for good works that will follow us for all eternity. Making peace even serves as proof of our sonship.

YHVH’s children are called to be “Peacemakers.” And, in this day and hour we especially need to hear from them. Right now, today, we need to see them at work, we need to experience the results of their particular gifting.

We need peace. But at what price will true peace come?

Our God is a God of Peace. However, He sternly warns us against saying, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace” (2 Thessalonians 3:16; Jeremiah 6:14). He wants us to seek true peace, true shalom.

In Hebrew, the word for peace is “shalom.” It is a word that is filled with great meaning, including, completeness, soundness, and welfare. Thus, a true peace/shalom/maker will declare God’s terms under which people can be made whole.

Peace will not come through compromise or by covering up the truth. Only the truth can set us free and bring us true peace. We therefore need to have the truth spoken in peace and without partiality.

In James 2:8-9 we read, “If you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

Showing partiality is sin. Messiah Yeshua warned His followers, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

Judgments that are based on partiality or superficial appearance feed into media frenzies that thrive on bias’ and negative news. For the sake of ratings, media moguls often try to stir people up against each other, pitting bias against bias. They set up false conclusions and encourage debate for the sake of debate. Sadly, they use stories about human failings to seek the limelight. Such things will not bring peace.

Many are doing that with the Trayvon Martin – George Zimmerman tragedy. And yes, it is a tragedy. It is first of all a story of human suffering – and we must be careful when we speak speak of it.

The problem is that sometimes, in cases that involve man’s inhumanity to man, we find that only God knows the full truth. Only He can truly and equitably judge the thoughts and intent of a man’s heart. And sometimes, we need to allow Him time to do just that.

This is not to say that we do nothing and just “let God take care of it.” But we must be careful about our judgments, because judging a situation will establish a measuring rod that will determine how the Father will one day judge us. “By that which you measure, so shall it be measured unto you” (Mark 4:24; Luke 6:38).

The mistaken idea of “not judging” others is not based on a true understanding of Scripture. The Word says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

In these verses Messiah Yeshua was addressing the idea of being unnecessarily critical of others. He was in essence saying, if we have a critical spirit we will set in motion divine judgement against our actions. Meaning, the Father will try to correct us by helping us to realize what we are doing to others. He will let us know how our wrong actions feel.

We are not to be unnecessarily critical of others, but on the other hand, the idea of not judging anything is equal to licentiousness, it is equal to saying, “Anything goes.” And, that is an unscriptural form of lawlessness. 1 Corinthians 6:3 says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”

We are supposed to judge matters in this life, but we need to be very careful about how we do it. “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates” (Zechariah 8:16). We, those who follow the Messiah of Israel, of all people, must seek to judge matters with truth for the sake of having peace within our gates. We must seek to be the Peacemakers.

That is indeed a tall order. It is much easier to just keep quiet. Nonetheless, I will speak up and say that my decision in this matter is that, for better or worse, the court has decided this case and any further redirect needs to be peacefully handled in the courts.

But herein lies a problem: Most black people do not feel they are treated fairly in our courts. And the truth is, that is often the case. On the other hand, it is not right to resort to lawless behavior and destroy the property of innocent people because you have been wronged. Neither is it right to make one person a scapegoat for the past wrongs of others. Zimmerman (and family) must not be made to pay for past sins. Unfairly punishing him will not take them away. It will only add sin to sin. Unwarranted retaliation will tend to turn away those who might otherwise want to help right past wrongs.

We need to let every man pay for his own sins and not those of others. If we want to help equitably settle this matter, it is imperative that we isolate the various problems and deal with them individually. To do that, we will have to separate this case from the larger case of man’s unfair treatment of others, and that too, is a tall order.

I once had a prominent Jewish brain surgeon ask me to explain the Holocaust. His question took my breath away. I knew he had lost much family in it and I did not know what to say in the presence of his pain. All I could say was “I have no answer for man’s unspeakable actions against man.” I could not glibly explain away his pain. All I could do was to weep with him.

I felt the same way when I read a recent post written by a dear black friend of mine. It was a powerful message written by an honorable man who, like the Jewish brain surgeon, has suffered unspeakable actions against himself and his family for no worthwhile reason. Two of his uncles were hanged by whites because they participated in a peaceful protest, and their killers were never brought to justice. That is indeed a bitter pill to swallow. It has the potential to forever sour one’s stomach. There is nothing for outsiders to do but to weep when confronted with the truth of such wrongfully inflicted pain.

Sadly, some white people are smug and condescending when they feel they have “power” over others. They even think they have the right to mistreat them. But theirs is a fleeting power in the hands of fools and one day they will have to pay for their actions. Only “a fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes.” Of such people Yah says, “Woe to those who enact evil statutes and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice and rob the poor of My people of their rights…” (Proverbs 10:23; Isaiah 10:1-2). Wise people know that Almighty God will hold all of us accountable for any and all
sins from which we do not repent in this life.

However, waiting for justice in the presence of those who don’t care really about your plight is very difficult. Their plight cannot be ignored. There will be no peace unless we truthfully attended to it.

Feelings that stem from wrongful suffering for many years cannot be ignored. Wrongs suffered need to be righted. Those who see this truth need to understand why many black people feel that there is no justice in our system. They feel that they get labeled and mistreated.

On the other hand, criminal records prove an inordinately high number of black instigated crimes. For these things too, repentance will have to come. But, that is not the whole story. This story is affected by the fact that whites, who largely control our system, do not have proper compassion for, and understanding of the things that people of color often have to suffer. They are often made to feel “less than,” simply due to the color of their skin. Because some see them in this light, it is often hard for those of color to find adequate employment, and we all know that poverty can lead to crime. And high crime rates tend to make others think of the people as “criminals.” And when everyone thinks in advance that you are a criminal, you give up hope and don’t even try any more. Round and round the ugly story goes with an unending cast of characters and circumstances.

All of us need to be aware of the problems that people of color face and try to do what we can to change things. This is especially true in regard to Believers. We are taught to “bless and not curse,” and, to think of ANY race in the wrong light, be they black, white, red, yellow or brown, is to inflict a curse of sorts on them. We must remember that, if a child hears nothing but curses and doubt spoken over him, it will make it much more difficult for him to succeed in life. Thus, we need to begin to consciously think in terms of speaking and thinking of “blessings” over those who suffer from prejudice.

The fact that we now have a black President gives evidence to the truth that many people in this country do not embrace prejudices. Blessings need to be spoken over them too, for the sake of their right actions. Those who seek to right the wrongs of the past likewise need to be encouraged, so they will want to do even more good. Just as blacks should not be painted with a broad brush of condemnation,
neither should white people be broadly painted the color of prejudice.

The only way we can get away from the type-casting that is being foisted on us by those who using this terrible situation to seek some sort of limelight is to stop assuming the worst about each other and stop participating in their negativity.

The Martin/Zimmerman case is truly a tragedy for all involved. It has so many potential shades of gray that the evil one himself must have orchestrated it, so that we would all be at each others throats, further ripping and tearing us apart. We need to instead learn from this tragedy and begin to work toward healing wounds that should never have been inflicted in the first place.

We know that the people of Israel were scattered into every nation, tribe and tongue, and that, therefore, regathered Israel must include every nation, tribe and tongue. If we don’t see present, EVERY skin color known to man, we can know that all Israel is simply not present. We who see this truth need to do all that we can to help bring healing and restoration. Let us therefore seek to be Peacemakers whenever and wherever we can. Let us seek to be a collective light to those who are living in the hurtful darkness of prejudice.

Let the blessed Peacemakers arise.