The Bible’s Viewpoint
Is It Practical to Be Peaceable?
IN HIS most famous sermon, Jesus Christ said: “Happy are the peaceable.” He also said: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5, 9) Being peaceable involves more than being at peace or feeling calm. A peaceable individual initiates goodwill and actively promotes peace.
Are the above-quoted words of Jesus practical in our day? Some think that to succeed in this modern world, one must be intimidating, aggressive, and even violent. Is it wiser to meet like for like, aggression for aggression? Or is it practical to be peaceable? Let us consider three reasons why we should give thought to Jesus’ words: “Happy are the peaceable.”
▪ CALMNESS OF HEART “A calm heart is the life of the fleshly organism,” says Proverbs 14:30. Many medical reports indicate that anger and hostility can become triggers for strokes and heart attacks. Recently, a medical journal, when speaking of people with heart disease, compared explosive anger to poison. The journal also stated that “getting really mad can mean getting really sick.” Those who pursue peace, however, can develop “a calm heart” and reap benefits.
One example of this is Jim, a 61-year-old who is now a Bible teacher in a Vietnamese community. He explains: “After six years in the military and three combat tours in Vietnam, I knew violence, anger, and frustration very well. My past plagued me, causing sleep problems. Soon stress as well as stomach and nervous conditions affected my health.” What provided relief? He answers: “Studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses saved my life. Learning God’s purpose for a peaceful new world and how I can put on ‘the new personality’ has given me a calm heart. My health has improved greatly as a result.” (Ephesians 4:22-24; Isaiah 65:17; Micah 4:1-4) Many others have concluded from personal experience that developing a peaceable spirit can improve emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
▪ HAPPIER RELATIONSHIPS Our relationships with others will benefit when we display a peaceable spirit. The Bible mentions that “anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech” should “be taken away . . . , along with all badness.” (Ephesians 4:31) Those who display aggressive behavior often drive others away and find themselves alone, without dependable friends. Proverbs 15:18 states: “An enraged man stirs up contention, but one that is slow to anger quiets down quarreling.”
Andy, a 42-year-old Christian elder in New York City, grew up in an aggressive environment. He explains: “I was put in the ring and trained to box at the age of eight. I did not think of opponents as people. Instead, my thought was ‘hit or be hit.’ Soon I was running with a gang. We shared in many street fights and brawls. I’ve had guns held to my head and knives pulled on me. Many of my friendships were troubled and based on fear.”
What made Andy pursue peace? He says: “One day I went to a meeting at a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I could immediately sense the loving spirit among the people there. Since then, my association with these peace-loving people has helped me to develop a calm heart, and it eventually melted away my old way of thinking. I have made many lasting friendships.”
▪ HOPE FOR THE FUTURE The most important reason to be peaceable is simply this: It shows honor and respect for the expressed will of our Creator. God’s own Word, the Bible, urges us: “Seek to find peace, and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14) Acknowledging Jehovah God’s existence and then learning and obeying his life-giving teachings opens the door to a personal friendship with him. With that strong relationship, we gain “the peace of God.” This is an excelling peace regardless of the challenges that life may bring.
Further, by being peaceable, we show Jehovah what kind of person we want to be. We can prove to God now that we will fit into his promised peaceful new world. When he removes the wicked and enables, as Jesus said, the mild-tempered to “inherit the earth,” we can be there to see it. What a blessing!
Yes, the practical value of Jesus’ words “happy are the peaceable” is clear to see. We can experience a calm heart, meaningful relationships, and a solid hope for the future. These blessings can be ours when we do our best to “be peaceable with all men.”
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“My health has improved greatly.”
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“I have made many lasting friendships.”