Blessed are the Peacemakers
MT 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
In these moments of political, racial and social discord grown from seeds of hatred, injustice and prejudice and provoked by media bias and extremism, I pray for peace that can only come from God to fall upon our nation. And when I pray, as G.S. Boews writes with respect to peace, “Real; not the delusive calm of a hollow truce, nor the deceitful tranquility of stolid indifference and thoughtless apathy. An ice-bound river is at peace; a motionless corpse. In true peace there is life and activity as well as rest.”
What is peace? To begin with, peace is not the absence of animosity, conflict or war like our English dictionary’s suggest. It is much deeper. As Rick Ezell writes (Lifeway), “Peace is not the absence of conflict and is never confused with pacifism in the Bible. It is not the avoidance of strife. We are never instructed to run from conflict. Putting our head in the sand, hoping that the conflict will end, only delays the inevitable. It is not the appeasement of parties. The ‘peace at any price’ mentality is far from a biblical command. I have discovered that you can never make everyone happy all the time. It is not the accommodation of issues. The person who glosses over the problems, acting as if everything is alright when it is not is not a peacemaker.” And related to that thought, let’s all be warned that the worldly concept of peace is often built on the weak foundation of compromise. To sum this up, the absence of conflict, pacifism, avoidance of strife, appeasement of parties and accommodation of issues are all inadequate for true peace.
In contrast, the biblical concept of peace means “to be complete” or “to be whole or sound.” When a Jew says “Shalom” to another, they are desirous that the other person experience the full presence, peace, and prosperity of the blessings of God. To that end, a peacemaker is someone who actively works to reconcile people with God and one another. As you ponder what to say, what to do and how you can help in these days of heartbreak, sadness and mourning, consider the following:
Righteous things Christians can do to facilitate peacemaking:
- Pray for lasting peace and healing
1 TI 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
- Share the gospel of grace as peace begins with God through faith in Christ
RO 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
- Speak and behave consistent with the gospel . . . be the solution
HE 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
- Recognize and respect all people as God’s creation that bears His image
GE 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
- Demand the truth . . . the whole truth and nothing but the truth
PR 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
- Speak the truth in love about injustice, hatred and prejudice
PR 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.
- Insist on the peaceful means of justice within our system of justice
ISA 1:17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
- Love all people by meeting their needs
MT 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least [powerless, disadvantaged, needy] of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
1 JN 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
- Seek reconciliation and forgiveness
MT 18:33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?
Paul eloquently sums it up in his letter to the church in Rome, RO 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.