We are called to be peacemakers. Jesus, the ultimate peacemaker, wants us as his followers to be peacemakers in the world, and we can be.
Matthew 5:9 says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Is the world peaceful? Is your family peaceful? It’s so easy to get carried away by political fights and discord or be overwhelmed by the lack of peace in the world, but you and I can be peacemakers, because we have more than enough peace through God.
When I was a young girl, I saw my mother be a peacemaker in a way that blew my mind.
I grew up in Puerto Rico in a big, big family. Unfortunately, alcoholism was common in our family. My mother’s brother was an alcoholic, and in times of drunken stupor he would often hurt his wife. One day, they got into a huge fight. The neighbors heard the screaming and became afraid for my aunt. Knowing that my mom often helped my uncle calm down, the neighbors came to our house and begged her to intervene.
I watched my mom put on her shoes in record time and start running like a sprint runner. We lived high on a hill in the jungle of Puerto Rico, and my aunt lived at the bottom of the hill. My mom ran that hill faster than I had ever seen her run. My siblings and I followed her, our feet barely touching the ground and struggling to catch our breath.
When we got to the house, she turned around and told my siblings and I to stay back. We could hear my aunt’s screams. She had locked herself in the bathroom. Between her crying and screaming from the bathroom, my aunt told my mom that she was bleeding. We could feel in our bones my uncles roaring voice and were shocked to see that the house was a mess – my uncle had destroyed and broken every dish, every glass. He had thrown everything all over the floor. Then I saw the most remarkable thing.
My mom singlehandedly and with very few words got my uncle to leave and then convinced my aunt to open the door. She picked my aunt up in her arms. My aunt was a little person but so was my mom. Even as a child, I knew there was something special happening. Amazingly, my mom lifted my aunt and carried her all the way up the hill to a road where someone could pick them up and take them to the hospital. My siblings and I ran behind them. I saw drops of blood from my aunt’s feet, where she’d cut herself on the broken glass. My mom was a peacemaker that day. She ran into an incredibly dangerous situation, risked her own life, and then gave it all to save my aunt. I remember thinking, “Wow!” I was in awe at what my mom did. What a powerful peacemaker.
Even if we’ve never experienced something that dramatic, we can be peacemakers in so many ways.
Romans 12 says: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
It’s God’s job to bring justice. It’s our honor to be peacemakers.
We see so many examples of people in Scripture who are peacemakers. One example is Abraham. In chapter 13 of Genesis, we read of Abraham who was at odds with Lot, his nephew. They were living together, and they were cramped in the space, and they were starting to get into a major conflict. Abraham tells Lot, my paraphrase of Genesis 13:8-9, “Let’s not fight. Let’s not be in conflict with each other. Let’s find a win-win solution.”
Our greatest example of a peacemaker is Jesus. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” The Hebrew term for peace used in Isaiah 53:5 is shalom and it can be best defined as “nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing out of place.” Jesus comes and gives everything to restore all things, to bring us shalom. Jesus came into our world, into our brokenness, and gave it all to establish peace for us.
Hebrews 12:14 tells us, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone…”
As Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, there are a few things we have to remember. We can’t be offensive. You and I cannot bring peace by violence. Peace comes from peace. With violence, raising your voice, amping it up, and bullying it up, you can certainly bring some quiet in the room, but that’s not peace. We can squelch somebody else, but that’s not peace. Peace comes from peace.
Maybe we need to let go of the offensive. Maybe we need to let go of the passive-aggressive approach, which is deadly. Maybe we need to let go of the running-away method or the tuning-out method that maybe worked for a time, but really does it bring lasting peace.
Maybe we need to begin by praying to God and asking him to open our eyes to the peace that is already in us through Jesus. Perhaps we might have forgotten or lost sight of it. Let us ask God to raise our awareness of his peace.
Perhaps, we need to begin by confession, by owning our own part in our unwillingness, often, to be peacemakers. Maybe we go to the cross and confess to the Lord whatever it is in our hearts.
God brings peace to the world through us, not by us. He is the ultimate peacemaker. As we surrender our will to his will, he brings lasting peace in a way that is supernatural. Like my mother’s act of peacemaking, we will do things we never thought we could, because God, who is our strength and our wisdom, is with us.
Pray with me: “Lord, you see my heart. Use me as a vessel of peace. Yes, Jesus, you are more than enough for me and you give me the peace I need. Jesus, help me. Lead me in the way to be a peacemaker. Help me, Lord, in my context, in my family, in my work, in my business. Wherever I am, Lord, help me be a peacemaker.”