Prepared by Susan Holmes
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
Here Jesus calls us to be peacemakers … not peacekeepers. This is a role that is classified as a blessing. And there is so much contained in this blessing. First, we must accept that the role of a peacemaker is not a passive role. In Canada we have become used to the term ‘peacekeeper’. Our country and military have held a highly respected reputation as peacekeepers. But, as a participant in the role of peacekeeper, our military function has been to go into a post-conflict area and observe and maintain peace. A peacemaker, on the other hand, is actively involved in creating peace where there was none. We are called to run toward the conflict and leave the landscape changed for the better. That is what David, the shepherd boy, did as he rushed towards Goliath. His country was being threatened and his God was being mocked.
David was offered the armour of this world’s army, the armour of an earthly king. But this world’s trappings & tactics only serve to slow us down and hamper our progress. David had all he needed … knowledge of the God who had saved him from the teeth of lions and claws of bears while protecting his father’s sheep. David could run to the battle while others fell back because he knew he wasn’t running alone. His armour was his faith and his weapon was the name of the God of Israel. And when David was finished, the landscape was changed and the battle was won. (1 Samuel 17)
What motivates a person to run into a battle zone when others are retreating? You could say it is a family trait. Jesus qualified this blessing by saying that peacemakers will be called the children of God. Who would know this better than the Prince of Peace Himself? (Isaiah 9:6) And as sons and daughters of God, our Father “has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of his Son” (Galatians 4:6). If we have through grace been adopted into the family of the God of Peace and have the Prince of Peace as our brother, then how can we not have that yearning to be peacemakers?
A peacemaker’s role is to reconcile those who are in conflict or at odds with each other. The Apostle Paul stated this clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:18 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
Our Brother, the Prince of Peace Himself, set the ultimate example when He ran towards the cross. He reconciled us to His Father by His shed blood on the cross. He brought us to peace and changed our spiritual landscape. And when He was finished He passed the torch onto to you and I. “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21) My heart’s yearning as a child of God should be to bring those in turmoil to my Father. In doing this I realize that there is a battle going on for each and every soul. The Apostle Peter knew this well, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) We have been given the armour of a heavenly kingdom ((Ephesians 6:10-17). That armour includes having our feet ‘fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.’
Are my feet ready to run to the battle of reconciliation with the gospel of peace? Am I willing to trust my Father to deliver me from the claws of the roaring lion just as David the shepherd boy did? Does the Spirit of God’s Son, placed deep in my heart, compel me to want my neighbour, my family members, with me in His kingdom?
On days like today, when the sky is blue, and life around me seems good, my answer to these questions seems to come easy and is a resounding “Here am I Lord, send me”. But what about the days when strength is low, skies are grey and life seems to have turned against me. On those days, I admit that my first thoughts aren’t always to run to the battle. On those days the lion’s roar seems a bit too loud and the battle field around me shakes a bit too much. On those days I have to do as David learned to do and encourage myself in my Lord. On those days I remember that my Brother already saw these days coming and appealed to Our Father on my behalf before He took up His cross. (John 17). I take heart in His prayer and especially in verse 15, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
I challenge you to take possession of that yearning to be a peacemaker and to take up the God given ministry of reconciliation. In doing so, remember that the Hebrew word for peace (shalom) means “wholeness, completeness, and healing” … qualities we all crave and are fulfilled in reconciliation … peacemaking.