Blessed are the peacemakers… What in the world is a peacemaker? When I think of a peacemaker, I think of the war protestors from the 1960’s… I think of John Lennon… I think of people compromising their values in order to “keep the peace”… I think of
abused women trying to please their abusers, even agreeing with their abusers just to “keep the peace”…
I guess you could say I have a warped view of what a peacemaker is, so I decided to look at Jesus, because after all, He was the one who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 NKJV), and there is one thing I know about Jesus – everything He commanded us to do, He did too, as an example for us to follow. So, let’s look at the life Jesus led, and hopefully that will help me to settle this within my own heart, and maybe it will help you too. 🙂
First of all, one thing I know for sure is that Jesus never participated in anti-war protests. And let’s be really clear about it, there were plenty of others who were against the Roman government and Herod’s government. If you’ll recall, Barabbas, the one the Jews chose to set free instead of Jesus, was in prison for committing a murder during an insurrection (see Mark 15:7). Both governments were full of corruption, but Jesus never even addressed that. In fact, He told His disciples to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s. It would appear that Jesus was more interested in reconciling people toward God than in correcting social injustices. Jesus even said, “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give My life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NLT).
So, could it be that those churches that deal with social injustice rather than reconciling people to God have got it all wrong? Paul, one of the greatest apostles the world has known made it clear what his priorities were… “For I decided to concentrate only on Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. I came to you in weakness — timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. I did not use wise and persuasive speeches, but the Holy Spirit was powerful among you. I did this so that you might trust the power of God rather than human wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:2-5 NLT).
Another issue I have with peacemaking is the necessity for compromise. I am one of those people who sees things as either black or white, good or evil. There are no gray areas with me. This is the way God created me, and while I can compromise on things of little import, if I believe something is morally or ethically wrong, I CANNOT compromise.
My heart desperately desires to please the Lord – and if He has called me to be a peacemaker, then I want to be one… But how can I be a peacemaker if it means compromising my values in order to “keep the peace”?
Again, I look to Jesus. What did He do? Did He compromise on important things in order to “keep the peace”? The first thought He brings to my spirit is when He visited the temple in Jerusalem and saw all of the money changers there.
Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and oxen, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables (John 2:15 NLT). Wow – I don’t see any compromise here. And He certainly didn’t endear Himself to the Jewish leaders. Actually, this is not at all what I picture a peacemaker doing – so could it be that my idea of a peacemaker is twisted?
And just take a few minutes to read the “woes” in Matthew 23. Jesus minced no words in this chapter as He confronted the scribes, Pharisees and teachers of the law with their sin. There was no compromise of His values as He spoke to them, and yet, as harsh as His words were, I have the feeling within my spirit that every word was spoken in love. Yes, there was anger at the sins they were committing in leading many astray, but overriding the anger was grief for the souls that were lost… He was speaking the truth in love…
And just look at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His arrest. When Judas came to betray Him, Jesus knew what was going on. Judas had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which One to arrest when I go over and give Him the kiss of greeting.” So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Teacher!” he exclaimed and gave Him the kiss. Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested Him (Matthew 26:48-50 NLT). Is this what a peacemaker is? One who faces his/her betrayer and still calls him/her friend? Could it be that even then, in the midst of His own suffering and betrayal, Jesus was still concerned about reconciling his betrayer to God?
And look what happened when Peter cut Malchus ear off… Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given Me?” (John 18:10-11 NLT)… And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him (Luke 22:50-51 NLT). With His enemies surrounding Him, Jesus did not compromise, even in the face of His own death.
So if I look at the life of Jesus for instruction on becoming a peacemaker, what do I learn?
- Peacemakers seek to reconcile people to God rather than correcting social injustice… could it be that social injustice can be corrected only if people are reconciled to God?
- Peacemakers serve others…
- Peacemakers do not compromise their integrity to “keep the peace,” even in the midst of danger…
- Peacemakers love… their friends and family… their enemies… and yes, even their betrayers…
- Peacemakers boldly stand on the Word of God, and though it may offend others, they speak the truth in love, because reconciling people to God is a matter of life and death…
My Lord, help me to be a peacemaker, not according to the world’s view of peacemaking, but according to Your word. Let me have the honor of reconciling people to You, rather than merely seeking to correct social injustice. Give me the boldness to maintain the integrity of Your word, loving others as You love them, and always speaking the truth in love. And Father, let me be called a child of God because I am a peacemaker according to Your will. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 NKJV).
Cheryl A. Showers