Peacemaker or Troublemaker?
Wow, our world is in conflict! Riots and political upheaval are in every news cycle. For the Christian, this can be bewildering as we try to discern how we are to respond in all of this strife.
The Person of Peace
In the opening sermon of His ministry, Jesus makes this statement:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Given the nature of our situation, it would be good to look for a moment at what it means to be a “peacemaker”. Jesus says that those who will be called His relatives, children, or the descendants of God are those who are peacemakers.
As we study the Scripture, peace is very much a part of the nature of God and His Kingdom:
- In both I and II Thessalonians, He is called the God of peace (1 Thess. 5:23).
- Jesus was prophesied by Isaiah as the coming Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
- One of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives is peace (Galatians 5:22).
- We are told in Colossians 3:15 that we are to allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts.
- Philippians 4:7 reminds us that the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our hearts.
- We are told in Hebrews 12:14 to pursue peace with all men, without which no one will see the Lord.
- Paul tells us in Romans 12 to live, as much as it lies within us, at peace with all men.
- And we are told in Ephesians 6:15 that we are to carry the Gospel of peace.
Peace is very much a part of the Christian’s life and responsibility in the world.
And yet, lest we misunderstand, let’s also identify what a peacemaker is NOT:
- A peacemaker is not a personality type. Jesus does not say that only certain types of people are related to God.
- A peacemaker is not a compromiser of truth. This doesn’t mean we are those who do not stand for something, but cave in to everyone’s ideals regardless of how evil, just to keep the peace.
- A peacemaker is not a pushover. As a matter of fact the very next beatitude, which is connected to this one, is for those who will, as a result of refusing to bow to pressure, be persecuted.
- A peacemaker is not a pacifist. Peacemakers do not believe that all war and violence are unjustifiable. Wherever evil comes face to face with good, there will always be conflict.
Characteristics of a Peacemaker
First and foremost, a peacemaker is acquainted with the Peace-Maker! There can be no true peace with others before the war with God in our own hearts comes to a surrendered end. Jesus is the ultimate Peace-Maker (Romans 5:1).
A peacemaker is someone who experiences the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) because he is at peace (Romans 5:1) with the God of peace (Philippians 4:9) through the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), who, indeed, is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and who therefore seeks to live at peace with all others (Romans 12:18) and proclaims the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) so that others might have joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13).
A Peacemaker is a Peace Pursuer in the World. A peacemaker is someone who works and even struggles to put things back together. A peacemaker is not someone who runs from conflict but rather someone who chases after peace. “Properly, a peacemaker bravely declares God’s terms which makes someone whole” (Greek Lexicon).
- Peacemakers delight in things being as they ought to be.
- Peacemakers are not afraid of conflict.
- Peacemakers know which battles to fight.
- Peacemakers understand the aim of conflict. Peacemakers are biased to wholeness, not themselves.
- Peacemakers are pray-ers.
- Peacemakers are patient and trust God with the results.
A Peacemaker lives this out personally. God is a peace-loving God, and a peacemaking God. The whole history of redemption, climaxing in the death and resurrection of Jesus, is God’s strategy to bring about a just and lasting peace between rebel man and Himself, and then between man and his fellow man. God’s children have the character of their Father. What He loves, they love. What He pursues, they pursue.
We know that our God will ultimately end all conflict in this world and there will be true peace for eternity. Until then, let’s do our best to be agents of peace wherever we are today.
Copyright © 2020 Troy Keaton. All rights reserved.
Troy has been in pastoral ministry for over 20 years and currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Eastlake Community Church in Virginia, which he helped plant in 2005. Troy is a visionary leader who invests much of his life, not only in preaching and teaching, but in developing spiritual leaders and in training the next generation of church planters. Troy also serves as a National Resource Leader for The 6:4 Fellowship.