Day 29 – Blessed Are the Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9 (ESV)

I try to refrain from commenting on controversial issues on social media. Good rarely results. Social media provides a terrific platform for connecting with others and communicating hope. But digital communication falls far short when it comes to meaningful dialogue. To make matters worse, people sitting behind a screen are emboldened to criticize in a way that they would never do in person.

I also avoid sharing inflammatory articles. And while many of the concerns and causes expressed are meaningful, generating controversy is a long-used tactic to raise funds and motivate people to take up a cause. It is one thing to raise the alarm about a grave issue. It is another matter to belittle, berate, and demonize others. Sadly, the practice of stereotyping and demonizing our opponents is common on both the political right and left.

I can understand those who do not follow Christ buying into the divisiveness of our age—especially considering the way we are continually baited by outrage-laden headlines. For the Christian, though, the story should be different. If we truly believe that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, something within us should long to bring the peace of His kingdom into our world. I am not suggesting that we avoid conflict at all costs, but that we be peacemakers at heart.

The Root Cause of Division

Understanding the law-based mindset of human nature, we arrive at a little-known realization: The real cause of division between people is not the issues themselves, but rather self-righteous attitudes operating out of the sense that a person’s (or group’s) wisdom is superior to others. It is out of this polluted spring of pride that we gaze down with contempt upon all who would dare to doubt our “divine wisdom.” After all, what mere human has the right to question a god?

As Christians, we do not proclaim ourselves to be gods, but rather the sons and daughters of God. And as such, it is our Lord’s heart, mind, and attitude that we seek to embrace and display. A classic command of Scripture helps to guide our way:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8 (NASB)

What sage advice! Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot have it both ways. We cannot profess to be the children of God while we elevate our own thinking and disregard His. We want to glorify our Lord and Savior by representing Him well—something that can be accomplished by honoring His words.

Four Steps for Peacemakers

The topic of becoming a peace maker is worthy of a book in itself, but in our remaining space, I will offer four ideas beyond the commands given in Proverbs 3:5-8.

1. Obey the Biblical commands to treat others with honor.

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17 (NASB)

“Honor all people.” What a unique thought! Regardless of what people do or say, the Lord calls us to treat them with honor and respect because He created them to be His image bearers.

“Honor the king.” Peter wrote this letter in an age of ungodly rulers, and yet he recognized that government leaders were to be respected for their positions, if not their character.

2. Reconcile with others to the degree that you are able.

The Bible provides plenty of impetus for us to take the initiative to heal broken relationships whether we are at fault or not (see Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 18:15-18; Romans 12:14-21).

We cannot control how other people respond, but we can control our own attitudes and actions. We honor our Lord when we make every reasonable effort to be at peace with others. And if they do not respond well, we have at least planted seeds of righteousness that might grow to fruition later.

3. Correct and, if necessary, reject divisive people.

Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11 (NASB)

This statement by Paul to one of his leaders seems counter-intuitive. Should we not open our arms and doors to all? Paul’s point is that we value the unity of Christ’s body so much that we deny a platform to unreasonable people who refuse to look beyond their own “superior” thinking.

I have sought to confront and correct divisive actions at times, but on a rare occasion, I have also cut off a divisive person. The truth is that it will be impossible to make peace with everybody. We are not God’s “correction police” who seek to bring all others in line, so as a general rule, it is best to limit our efforts to those with whom we have established relationships. 

4. Take a fresh and deeper look at the gospel.

In his admonition to take up the full armor of God, the apostle Paul exhorted his readers to shod their feet “with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). Ironically, the gospel is one of our key weapons of warfare as we combat the spiritual forces of wickedness continuously assailing God’s kingdom of peace.

To be peacemakers, we do not just help people get along with each other. We help them align with God’s divine order. And this is what the gospel does because it can change hearts like nothing else. For those who will embrace it, the gospel is a message that will bring peace both to us and between us.

Blessed are the peacemakers! I do not know about you, but I want to be a child of God in every way possible. I want to champion the peace of Christ’s kingdom so that we can taste of its sweetness in the midst of a chaotic and conflicted world. May the Lord have mercy on our souls if we should ever choose to live otherwise.

Image by michel kwan from Pixabay

*Bob Santos has authored several books, and this post is drawn from an upcoming work titled The Search for Rest.