Blessed are the peacemakers

Matthew 5.9

We tend to take a much shallower view of things than Jesus does.

When we hear the phrase, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” we tend to think that it refers to those who are good at avoiding conflict, or, at the best, those who are good at resolving tensions.

But Jesus did not come into this world to avoid conflict.  He did not even come into our world just to resolve tensions.  He came into our world to make peace in a much fuller sense of the word.

The Hebrew word for peace is shalomShalom is not merely the avoidance of conflict.  Shalom has to do with everything that makes for a person’s highest good.  When Jesus speaks of a peacemaker, Jesus is speaking of a person who works for the establishment of what is right and good and healthy for people, and He is speaking of a person who works at establishing right and good and healthy relationships between people.

William Barclay suggests that peacemakers are those who are “engaged on the very work which the God of peace is doing,” and as “those who make this world a better place for all men [and women] to live in.”

No wonder Jesus says that peacemakers will be called sons and daughters of God.

A son or a daughter will reveal the family likeness.  When we are engaged in the “very work which the God of peace is doing,” and when we are involved in making “this world a better place for all…to live in,” we reveal the family likeness of God, and we will be seen as His sons and daughters.

John Piper comments, “What Jesus is saying in Matthew 5:9 is that people who have become sons [and daughters] of God have the character of their heavenly Father. And we know from Scripture that their heavenly Father is a ‘God of peace’ (Romans 16:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20). We know that heaven is a world of peace (Luke 19:38). And most important of all, we know that God is a peacemaker!”

In his book, The Peacemaker, Ken Sande adds, “When peace and unity characterize your relationships with other people, you show that you are God’s child and he is present and working in your life (Matthew 5:9).  The converse is also true: When your life is filled with unresolved conflict and broken relationships, you will have little success in sharing the good news about Jesus’ saving work on the cross.  This principle is taught repeatedly throughout the New Testament.”  (p. 47)

I recognize that I have a tendency to avoid conflict, but God is calling me to something greater—something that will sometimes involve facing conflict.  He is calling me to be engaged in the very work the God of peace is doing;” He is calling me to be involved in making “this world a better place for all…who live in it.”

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