Blessed are the peacemakers, because they shall be called sons (children) of God.
The Challenges of Peacemaking
This Beatitude is perhaps the most challenging, though the next is no picnic either. Making peace with others (either with those that have harmed us, or those we have harmed) is not an easy endeavor. It is an extremely complicated process that takes more time to explain than I have here. But let me give us a glimpse of what this entails.
Our worlds are full of broken relationships. We have been victims of the sins of others, and we have been perpetrators. We have been hurt, and we have hurt others. But Jesus seems to be calling us to become people who make peace with others in our lives. There will be some people with whom that is impossible. Some cannot be trusted not to renew their attack. They might not be willing to own their part in division. Some may not be ready to accept our apology for our contributions to the conflict. We can offer, or ask for, forgiveness, but we have no control over how others will respond. I think the important part for us is to—as Paul said—“as much as lies within you, live at peace with all men.”
Peace with God
We have a wonderful example. We were estranged from God by our own rebellious wills. God was the offended party, but God in Jesus reached out to remove all the barriers that separated us. Christ died for us on a cross that total forgiveness and unconditional love might be extended to us. He overcame the estrangement. He bridged the gap…at great cost!
If we are to participate fully in the kingdom of heaven on this earth we will value the lives of others to such an extent that we seek to overcome the obstacles that keep us apart. In some cases, it may be restricted to simply having our own hearts cleared of any barrier toward others, even when they continue to maintain the walls that divide. Jesus taught us to pray, “and forgive us…as we forgive.” When we do, we begin to reflect an amazing family likeness to our Father.
Peace with One Another
It just may be that God then uses us to begin to help other people who have experienced broken relationships with each other begin to find ways for their relationships to be restored as well.
I am reminded that in 1978 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin for the peace accord between Egypt and Israel. Do you remember how that happened? The were brought together at Camp David by one Jimmy Carter, a Christian who found a way to help others make some first steps toward peace in the Middle East.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the ninth post in a series exploring the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. Read the last post on “The Beatitudes: Blessed Are the Pure in Heart.”
The series is based on Dr. Bill Fowler’s Gilhousen Lecture given July 14, 2020 at YTI. Watch the entire lecture on Facebook here.