“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” — Matthew 5:9
What do you think of when you hear the word “peacemaker”? Many people in our culture think of the Colt single-action revolver, the pistol famously known as “The Peacemaker.” What do you think the chances are that, when Jesus told us, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), he had something entirely different in mind? Pretty good chance, don’t you think?
Throughout the New Testament, God’s word calls us to pursue peace. Jesus tells us in Mark 9:50: “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” And James 3:17-18 reads, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
Notice something interesting in that James 3 passage. It doesn’t say that the wisdom from heaven is first of all “peace-loving.” It says that the wisdom from heaven is, first of all, pure. “Blessed are the peacemakers” was the seventh Beatitude given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. But right before it, the sixth beatitude says, “Blessed are the pure in heart” (v8). Do you think it’s a coincidence that being pure is mentioned right before being peace-loving in James 3:17 and ALSO mentioned right before being peacemakers in Matthew 5:9? No way! It’s definitely not a coincidence.
a very important truth: Without purity, there will be no peace. To be peace
lovers and peacemakers, we must first be pure in heart. If peace is built on
any foundation other than Christ’s purity, it’s a FALSE peace. That’s very
important to remember these days, when there’s much talk about achieving “peace
in the Middle East,” “peace in
God wants you to be at peace in your relationships, but never at the expense of your purity. If you have to lie, cheat, steal, or in any way compromise your integrity on the road to peace, you’re on the wrong road. Many wives think that they have to lie to their husbands to keep the peace. Many kids and teenagers think that they have to cheat on their assignments to keep their grades up so they can keep the peace at home. Many of us, when we’re around non-Christian friends, change the way we talk and act in order to fit in and keep the peace. But that’s a false peace that ultimately doesn’t do your friends any good. Impurity never leads to true, lasting peace.
Once you have that foundation of purity, here are four keys to becoming a peacemaker in your relationships:
Key #1: Stay humble. If you are arrogant and full of yourself, you’ll inevitably say and do things to others that damage your relationships. If you aren’t humble, you will be a peace-breaker, not a peacemaker.
Key #2: Repent of your sin. Once you humble yourself before God, you must grieve over your own sin and turn from it. If you don’t think that your mean and hurtful words to others are really mean and hurtful, don’t be surprised if you’ve got some broken relationships on your hands. Don’t ever forget the four most important three-word sentences in any relationship. “I am sorry.” “I was wrong.” “I love you.” “Please forgive me.” If you can’t speak those words and mean them, you are NOT a peacemaker.
Key #3: Pray for those who have hurt you. Jesus says in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Don’t expect to experience true peace and reconciliation in your relationships if you’re not willing to sincerely love and pray for those who’ve hurt you. If you’re harboring bitterness, anger and resentment toward someone, DO NOT try to make peace with him or her until you’ve spent time in prayer and given that bitterness, anger and resentment over to the Lord.
Key #4: Act quickly. Don’t allow open wounds to fester. Jesus tells us plainly in Matthew 5:25, “Settle matters quickly with your adversary.” That’s marvelous counsel. Don’t allow wounds in your relationships to fester. Don’t allow the sun to go down on your anger. If you want to be a peacemaker, deal with the rifts in your relationships as soon as possible. Take time to pray first, but then get to it!
Finally, remember: The most important way we can ever bring about peace in our relationships with people is to lead them into a relationship with Jesus. You’ll never be a true peacemaker who will be called a “child of God” if you’re not leading those around you to become “children of God” as well.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.