“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
What percentage of the time would you say that you live in a state of internal peace? If you’re like me, that question challenges deeply.
God designed the human soul to function with an inner stability that is hard to come by in a fallen world. People seek it everywhere. In a sense we have no choice; it’s in our DNA. We see it in how people self-medicate with all sorts of things, things that end up making life even harder. Peace is compelling but elusive…until we are touched by God.
As Christ-followers we know the foundational truth that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). Unfortunately we don’t always stay there; we frequently get sucked back into the deception of trying to rule our world. Trying to be strong again.
Everyone’s peace gets disturbed. Maturity can be measured by how quickly we recognize its absence and move back into it. This is the “let” part in Paul’s admonition to “Let the peace of Christ rule”—this is your part in opting into Jesus’ peace offer.
Another facet of this soul maturity is paying attention to what actions decrease or increase our sense of inner peace. He likes it when we stay close, and when we do, we like it too! So step one
in becoming a Peacemaker is letting God’s peace more consistently rule your soul.
As we learn to keep ourselves in the peace of God, the presence of God more richly abides in us and emanates through us—and that gets exciting fast. Because the world is so lacking and desperate for peace, people are intuitively drawn to us when we are living in its freedom.
You’ve heard the old expression, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” If we turn that phrase around, we see that we can’t force peace on those who are committed to their anxiety, but we can model the benefits, we can invite them into its sweetness, and we can hook hungry hearts up with the Prince of Peace.
How do we do that?
“A gentle answer turns away wrath,” Proverbs tells us (15:1). This is a form of peacemaking. When we meet hostility with humility, a peaceful current flows through the room. What else?
Welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, visiting the imprisoned—these are all peacemaking activities that Jesus says are ultimately done unto Him as we practically do them for others (Matt. 25:34-40). Assisting an elderly man, encouraging a harried mom, calming an anxious employee…the applications are endless, but peace is the outcome when we engage Jesus’ mission. This is step two: the multiplication of your peace.
As instruments of God’s peace we also have opportunities to, not only help settle the choppy waters of one person’s soul, but also help bring reconciliation between two or more people in conflict with one another. This is a particular grace open to us all, and we are never more in alignment with the purposes of God than when we facilitate the healing of relational breaches around us. This is part of our answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:11, “that they may be one even as We are.”
Conflict arises when people have different agendas, values, or priorities that wind up at cross purposes with the agendas, values, and priorities of other people. Even when both agendas may be good. But feeling disregarded in our agendas, we instinctively armor up and move into defensive posture. And the result is varying degrees of conflict, from minor annoyances to full-blown feuds.
As peacemakers, we have the opportunity to listen, to care, to offer respectful affirmations, and to help people lower their shields so they can engage their “foes” with humility and kindness. This is Step three. To the degree we have influence, we can lead warring factions toward vulnerability, repentance, and either resolution or godly confrontations. This is part of our mission — all of us.
Jesus says something else remarkable about the ministry of peacemaking—He says that we will be recognized as God’s children. Because God is the chief Peacemaker! Peace is a heavenly commodity; the world is powerless to generate enduring peace.
This is part seven of the Eight Fold Path Series.. If you’ve just arrived to this blog post, you’re invited to skip back to the beginning and read them in consecutive order.
At this point, I’d like to invite you to look over your journals since the 1st step. We’ve come a long way, and this is the journey that Jesus invited us to take. We have learned to see our need, to mourn, to become meek, to seek righteousness, to have compassion, to purify our hearts, and through all of these processes, by the grace of God, we are becoming peacemakers.
In your journal, visit step one by listing all the ways you’ve lost your peace in the last week. Identify your triggers and invite God’s peace into these areas. You may wish to add this to your daily practice in the morning.
Step two: In your journal, make a plan for spreading peace in action. Notice how this brings more peace in your soul
Step three: Please a gentle reminder somewhere in your vicinity “I am a Peacemaker”. Watch for opportunities to step into this role. Interestingly, when we prepare in this way, opportunities show up!
Peace be with you,