Matthew 5:9 NASB
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
When I was a naive kid, I used to read that verse and get excited about how God might want to use me to bring about WORLD PEACE. I used to think that making peace meant staying out of fights or doing whatever I could to stay away from conflict.
In theory, of course. I have a big sister who is the polar opposite of me. We fought and argued like crazy. And I'm stubborn; sometimes I like to argue or stand my ground just so I can pretend I'm right. So even if my childish ideas of peacemaking ever were at all practical, I wasn't good at putting them into practice anyway.
But my ideas were never reality. The reality is, there won't be peace on this earth as long as there are people living on it. We're sinners. We're selfish. We want our own way. And being a peacemaker is just...well...hard.
It's also not passive. I once believed that avoiding conflict was peacemaking. It can be part of it, but peacemaking involves work, and lots of it. It involves giving of self and time. It involves risk and pain. In fact, peacemaking involves war.
We too easily forget that we are at war, that there are forces of evil working against us all the time. There's terrible injustice in the world. There's corruption. There's compromise. And Satan would like nothing better for us to be passive, to pretend that there's nothing wrong or that there's nothing worth fighting for.
That's not the case.
I don't claim to be a peacemaker or even really know how to be one, but I believe it takes a great amount of discernment, of humility, of personal sacrifice, of endurance.
It takes discernment to know what things are worth fighting for. It takes discernment to know whether to be silent or to speak, when to embrace and to refrain. Peacemaking involves far more wisdom than anyone can muster up on their own. Peacemakers need to pray for guidance, that their minds and hearts will be open to truth, that God will convict and lead them according to His will. We can't claim we know His will unless we continually seek it, unless we continually seek Him.
Peacemakers MUST have humility, first to admit that they are sinners in need of grace they can never repay. They must be willing to yank the planks out of their own eyes before trying to help pull out another person's speck. They must be willing to overlook minor insults, and deal graciously with more major offenses. They must point others to truth instead of just trying to prove themselves right. They must be quick to offer apology and restitution for any offenses they caused, whether they are accidental or intentional offenses. They must be willing to, whenever possible, make peace with all men, so far as it depends on them (Romans 12:18).
Peacemakers must be willing to sacrifice. Peacemaking involves time, energy, emotional investments. A person can't hope to make real peace unless that person truly, selflessly cares. Peacemaking often involves confronting others with truth-often truth others don't want to hear. Peacemaking sometimes means standing by God's truth even when no one else is standing by it. Peacemaking can even involve force when injustice is severe. Peacemakers risk the potential of ridicule, of losing friends for the sake of truth, even of personal harm in some extreme cases. When something is worth fighting for, there often can't be peace without a painful struggle.
And sometimes that struggle doesn't end overnight. Sometimes the struggle goes on for years. Sometimes a peacemaker must pray and wait and pray and hope and pray and hurt and pray for years, with no guarantee that peace will ever come.
I know about a mom who is fighting a very unjust ruling over the custody of her son. Her son is worth fighting for.
I know several people who are compromising or even denying their faith to follow the world and its understanding. Their souls are worth fighting for.
I am burdened for those children, for those men and women who are trapped in slavery, some of them who have never known joy and hope. Their freedom is worth fighting for. They are worth fighting for.
Maybe the true definition of a peacemaker is a person who can't have peace until others have it too...and not the peace that this world gives, but the peace of God.
I used to have this saying. "Love is the only weapon that cannot fall into the wrong hands." No one ever liked that saying, so I stopped saying it, but I still believe there's truth to it. Love, prayer, truth. These are the weapons we have against satan and all the forces that are trying to steal peace. We aren't fighting flesh and blood.
And I don't know if I'll ever be a true Peacemaker, but I do know I'm a child of God. And I do know that He's giving me a heart like His own, one that breaks for those who have no peace. I can't be passive anymore.
God came down in humility as a baby, lived as a man, died on a cross, and defeated death...all to make peace with a rebellious people.
Peace is costly.
But I believe it's something worth pursuing.