(I initially shared this newsletter in July 2016 but recently had someone ask, in light of the times, that I share it with you all again. I hope it is helpful for you.)
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
What’s a peacemaker? And what is the difference between a peacemaker and a peace keeper? In the ever growing tensions we see in our country, these are the questions I’ve been pondering and praying about these last few weeks.
A quick internet search defines a peace keeper as a person who maintains peace while a peacemaker is defined as a person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries.
A peace keeper keeps the peace. Sometimes at any cost. A peace keeper sees tension and they might step in to calm things down, or they might stay out of it as to not stir the pot even more.
Justin Davis writes about growing up in a home where his parents often fought and as a result he and his brother learned the ground rules for peacekeeping. Justin shares this:
-Peacekeepers walk on eggshells to not upset anyone
-Peacekeepers don’t share how they really feel so they don’t start an argument
-Peacekeepers avoid conflict and apologize for things that they haven’t even done
-Peacekeepers always feel taken advantage of and find their identity in not making waves
The result of living life as a peacekeeper is often times resentment, distance, passive aggressiveness, hurt, and surface level relationships. We might think we are helping the relationship, but we are actually creating more distance and possibly hurting it even more.
Maybe you’ve been hurt, you’ve been let down, you’ve been disappointed…and you haven’t said anything in an effort to “Keep the peace” …but the truth is you don’t have peace at all.
The Bible really doesn’t speak about being a peacekeeper. Scripture calls us to be peacemakers.
Justin Davis has also laid out some ground rules for peacemakers that I have found helpful. Justin shares:
– Peacemakers are ruthlessly committed to truth-telling. Peacemakers speak the truth in love. When they are offended or hurt, they communicate their feelings honestly. When they have hurt others, they own their mistake and ask for forgiveness. They know that withholding truth will never lead to intimacy.
– Peacemakers are humble enough to pray for the person that hurt them. An amazing thing happens when I pray for someone that has wounded me…God changes my heart. There are times that God changes them, but God always changes me when I humble myself to pray for that person. When I bow my knees and bring that relationship before God, I am saying to Him, “This person is more valuable to me than being right.” God shows up in a heart that is humble enough to elevate someone else above ourselves.
-Peacemakers pursue reconciliation at the risk of their own comfort. Avoidance isn’t peacemaking. Avoiding conflict will never build intimacy. You will never grow closer to your brother or sister by ignoring them. You will never reconcile with your mom or dad by not going home for Christmas. You will never grow closer in your marriage by pretending there is no conflict. Sometimes the best way you can build peace is to lovingly confront a situation.
Jesus was and is the ultimate peacemaker. Ephesians 2:14 states “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” In an effort to make peace, Jesus gave his life. May we follow His lead and be willing to do the same.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matt 5:9