“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9 NLT
Walking out of my 10th grade health class, one of the posters near the door caught my attention. Lucy, from the Peanuts comic, was leaning over her physiatrist booth telling Charlie Brown, “I can’t help thinking that this would be a better world if everyone would listen to me…” I smile and thought, “I know how you feel Lucy!”
I’d like to tell you my response was just teenage naivety, but this thought still bubbles up inside me. I want others to do things my way, the “right way.” Only, most actions are preferences, and can’t actually be labeled right or wrong. Like how to fold jeans, the tone you set in an email, or etiquette as a house guest.
Usually I keep my mouth shut (I even allow my husband’s jeans to sit on the shelf folded incorrectly), all in the name of keeping the peace. But as I studied what it means to be a peacemaker, I questioned; is it really making peace when you’re silently fuming inside and wondering why they can’t just do it your way?
Of course the answer is no.
I like how David Guzik explains Matthew 5:9, “’Blessed are the peacemakers’ does not describe those who live in peace, but those who actually bring about peace, overcoming evil with good.”
Working for peace is the outward action of our heart’s desire for love and reconciliation. Therefore, just avoiding conflict, or “keeping the peace,” is not enough because it does not require our hearts to align with God’s heart.
The Heart is the Vessel for Peace.
I think Jesus waits until the end of the beatitudes to mention peacemaking because we first need to be humble, repentant, meek, seeking after God, compassionate and pure of heart. The first six traits shape us into children of God who desire peace because our Father desires peace.
Paul even goes so far to say peace should rule our hearts: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NKJV)
Notice Colossians 3:15 says “the peace of God.” The peace in our heart is not of our own making, but rather, God’s peace within us.
Right after Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit as a Helper to his disciples, He says: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
This is why peacemakers are called children of God. We receive Christ’s peace and then give it out just as freely as He does.
Working for Peace
Minister Danny Saavedra refers to a peacemaker as a “peace-diffuser.” Peace flows out of peacemakers in the form of forgiveness, love, and service. But this only happens with intention—with work.
Working for peace requires seeking out opportunities to bring people together and show them we are all children of God.
We will talk more about what is means to work for peace later this month, but to begin our peacemaking journey, I want you to reflect on this question: Are you working for peace or just keeping the peace?