Friday, December 20, 2019

The Beatitudes: The Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Who are the peacemakers? Peacemakers are those who make peace. This can be broken down into four aspects. First, peacemakers have a peaceable disposition. Second, peacemakers do not cause strife with bitterness or malice (they are not "peace-breakers"). Third, peacemakers pursue reconciliation and harmony with others. Fourth, peacemakers pursue reconciliation and harmony between others.

Peacemaker make peace by being patient, forgiving, generous, and just. They make peace by restraining the violent and unjust, by encouraging patience and generosity, by deescalating situations with gentle, fair, and careful words. They do not always avoid conflict (they are not "peace-fakers"), but when they engage in a conflict it is with the goal of peace and in a manner that fits that goal.

Peace is a beautiful thing. As Thomas Watson (1620-1686) remarked, "It is not fairness of rooms that makes a house pleasant, but peaceableness of dispositions." A shabby house with peace is more beautiful than a fine house with discord and bitterness.

Where there is no peace, the Spirit is not active, since peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Where there is no peace, the kingdom of God is not present, since peace is of the essence of the kingdom (Rom. 14:17). Where there are no peacemakers, there are no disciples of Jesus.

The world loves the idea of peace, but it does not know peace nor does it make peace. It is not enough to admire peace - they are blessed who make peace, not merely admire peace. The disciples of Jesus know peace with God, and are therefore able to share this peace with others.

Why are peacemakers blessed? They are blessed because in this way they prove to be true sons of the God of peace. He is long-suffering, generous, forgiving, and on a mission of reconciliation, pursuing peace with His world (2 Cor. 5:19). The children of God are like Him by being peacemakers; the children of the devil are like him by being murderers, hating and being hated.

God shows His grace by taking the disciples of Jesus as His children. He adopts them, giving them access, fatherly care, and an inheritance in His household. He begets them spiritually so that they begin to resemble Him.

Consider then, whether you a peacemaker. Do you make peace? Do you words generally promote peace or initiate strife? Do you seek reconciliation with the brother who has offended you (Matt. 18:15) and the brother whom you have offended (Matt. 5:23-24)? Do you seek peace with all men (Rom 12:18), even your adversaries (Matt. 5:25)?

Seek and pursue after peace. Do not treat it as a nice by-product, an accessory, but rather as a goal. Cultivate a peaceable disposition rooted in God’s grace. Put away bitterness and malice, and seek harmony and fellowship with your brother and your neighbor.

Peace is a sign of God’s grace, of His kingdom come to earth, of His likeness being imprinted on yours. Blessed are you peacemakers, disciples of the Prince of peace, for you are children of God. He is your loving Father and He cares for you.


For prior posts in this series, see:
1. "The Beatitudes: Introduction"
2. "The Beatitudes: The Poor in Spirit"
3. "The Beatitudes: Those Who Mourn"

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