Are You a Peacemaker?
Jesus taught us to be peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). One can readily observe how important this characteristic is to God. If we are peacemakers, we are considered by God to be His children. The very thought of that is amazing!
We may think of this quality as finding common ground with the worst of enemies and that would be correct. However, being peacemakers may also require that we step in to reconcile others who are at odds such as our brethren. The common problem that often stops us from being peacemakers is that the desire of man is usually to seek retribution and feed our grudges when we or someone close to us have been wronged. Controlling the anger and frustration we feel from such things is difficult but Jesus takes it a step further by inviting us to forgive, forget and make peace.
Jesus appeals to His disciples to be different, to be otherworldly by seeking peace with their enemies and peace with others. Before we continue, it is important for us to understand that Jesus does not ask us to do something He Himself never did. Jesus is the role model. All His teachings and commands were put immediately into action by His own lifestyle and behavior. We may be tempted to think that making peace with our enemies our reconciling people who are at odds is an impossible feat. It may be difficult, but certainly not impossible.
Jesus was often at odds with the Jews and religious leaders and even then He sought peace with them. He knew that love was more important than hate and forgiveness more beneficial than harboring grudges. The greatest illustration of this was seen when Jesus was being brutally tortured and mocked as He was crucified on the cross. The bible quotes Jesus as saying to His enemies:
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk. 23:34).
If Jesus could make peace with His enemies, then we certainly can as well. It is not impossible. Often times when we make peace and we put in the effort to make peace, we will realize that it will relieve pressure from our heart and our soul. Holding grudges and being angry will not only destroy us but it will destroy everyone around us. This is not what children of God do. We may not need to make peace with anyone but we could help to make peace among other people (especially our brethren). Jesus did this too and we need to do it as well.
The twelve Jesus called to walk alongside Him were from different backgrounds and no doubt they all had differing views. They may not have gotten along well in the beginning and on an occasion later on in the gospels, they would argue while trying to one-up each other. Jesus stepped in several times as a peacemaker and He encouraged them to make peace with one another (Jn. 13:34-35; 17:11, 22-23).
It is true that not all conflict can be avoided and will be avoided. God knows this and He encourages us to do the best that we can and leave the rest up to the other person and ultimately to trust in Him (Psa. 34:14; Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14). May we be people who seek to spread love and put an end to strife. May we encourage one another and make peace with all men insofar as we can. If this quality is ours, we will be sons of the king and thrive in His kingdom. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”