“Happy are the Peaceable”
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
DO YOU know any boys who are always trying to act big and tough? Do you like to be with them? Or would you rather be with someone who is peaceable?
The Great Teacher knows what kind of person God likes. He said: “Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God.’” That is the kind of person we want to be, isn’t it? We want to be peaceable.—Matt. 5:9.
But sometimes other people do things that make us angry. And we may feel like getting even with them. Once this happened to Jesus’ disciples.
They were traveling with Jesus toward Jerusalem. When they had gone some distance, Jesus sent certain ones ahead to a village to find a place for them to rest. But the people there did not want them to stay. Those people had a different religion. And they did not like anyone that went to the city of Jerusalem to worship.
If that had happened to you, what would you have done? Would you have gotten angry? Would you have wanted to get even with them?
That is what the disciples James and John wanted to do. They said to Jesus: ‘Do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?’ But Jesus told them it was not right to treat other people that way.—Luke 9:51-56.
It is true that people may be mean to us at times. Other children may not want you to play in their games. They may even say, “We don’t want you around here.” When something like that happens, it can make us feel bad, can’t it? We may feel like doing something to get even with them. But should we?
Why not get your copy of the Bible? And let’s turn to Proverbs chapter twenty-four, verse twenty-nine. There it reads: “Do not say: ‘Just as he did to me, so I am going to do to him. I shall repay to each one according to his acting.’”
What does that mean to you? It is saying that we should not try to get even. We should not be mean to the other person because he was mean to us. God does not want us to do that.
But what if someone tries to pick a fight with you? He may try to get you angry by calling you names. He may laugh at you and say that you’re scared. Maybe he calls you a sissy. What should you do? Should you let yourself be drawn into a fight?
Again, let’s see what the Bible says. Turn to Matthew 5:39 chapter five and verse thirty-nine. There Jesus says: “Do not resist him that is wicked; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him.”
What did Jesus mean by that? Did he mean that if someone hits you with his fist on one side of your face, you should let him hit you on the other side? No, he did not mean that.
A slap is not like a hit with the fist. It is more like a push or a shove. A person does this to pick a fight. He wants us to get angry. And if we do get angry and push or shove back, what happens? We will probably get into a fight.
Jesus did not want his followers to act like that. So he said that if someone slaps us, we should not slap back. We should not become angry and get into a fight. If we do, we show that we are no better than the one who started the fight.
If trouble starts, the best thing is to walk away. The other fellow may push or shove a few more times. But that will probably be the end of it. When you walk away, it does not show that you are weak. It shows that you are strong for what is right.
Now, what should we do if we see other people fighting? Should we get in there and take sides with one or the other?
The Bible tells us what is right. Turn to Proverbs chapter twenty-six and verse seventeen. It says: “As one grabbing hold of the ears of a dog is anyone passing by that is becoming furious at the quarrel that is not his.”
What would happen if you grabbed hold of the ears of a dog? It would hurt the dog, and he would snap at you, wouldn’t he? The more the dog tried to get loose, the harder you would squeeze the ears. And the more excited the dog would get. If you let him go, he would probably bite you hard. But can you just stand there and hold his ears forever?
Well, that is the kind of trouble that we would be in if we got mixed up in a fight between other people. We may not know who started the fight or why they are fighting. One person may be getting beaten, but perhaps he stole something from the other one. If we helped him, we would be helping a thief. That would not be good, would it? So, what should you do if you see a fight? If it is at school, you can run and tell a teacher. And if it is away from school, you can call a policeman.
Even when other people want to fight, we can be peaceable. They may want to fight. But we can show that we are strong for what is right.