As we continue our study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, let’s contemplate the seventh Beatitude:
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:9 NIV
Several famous world leaders have included this observation in important speeches: “Peace is not just the absence of conflict.” This rings especially true when we discover that the biblical word for peace ”שָׁלוֹם” (Shalom) means “to make something whole”.
However, conflict and disorder are woven into this life. Even the most successful human relationships are marked with trouble. Conflicts can be sudden, can open or fester under the surface and later break out in unpleasant, dangerous, even life-ending manifestations. On the other hand, seemingly peaceful relationships can suddenly and mysteriously end when conflict remains unaddressed. Here are some words of Jesus to stimulate thoughts about our peacemaking role:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 ESV
So, it is no surprise that Jesus commends the peacemaker. The Apostle Paul encourages us:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18, NIV.
I think Jesus also aims at something deeper in this beatitude. In Isaiah 9:6 NIV the prophet identified Jesus in this way centuries before his arrival.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
What is Jesus’ role as Prince of Peace? Briefly, he is the only one who can bring true, lasting peace, restoration, redemption, and reconciliation between you and God and others.
Salvation comes no other way; no other name [than Jesus] has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one. Acts 4:12 MSG
For this reason, when the Holy Spirit leads us in a peacemaking role, it’s valuable to remind ourselves that true reconciliation is found in the person of Jesus. Lasting peace reflects his Way and his heart.
How can the ordinary follower of Jesus be a peacemaker? A myriad of roles and professions come to mind. All these benefit from relying on the highest authority, Jesus; and some are even bolstered by worldly authority. Here are just a few roles and professions that qualify: parent, teacher, medical professional, therapist, pastor, law enforcement, athlete, legal counselor, tradesman, caretaker, military service – in short, just about any profession or role that doesn’t involve sinful or criminal activity.
As we steadily renew our minds, immersing ourselves in God’s word, and submit ourselves to his ways, we will find the Holy Spirit enabling us to be peacemaking sons of God in our own circle of influence.
Ask God if he wants to bring an unresolved personal issue to mind. (If nothing comes to mind, that’s OK.) The personal issue could be one of your own or that of someone in your realm of influence. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you prepare for your peacemaking role.
You may find the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-15 ESV) helpful:
…“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
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