Written by Beth Bankert - Heartland Church of Fort Wayne
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9 KJV)
Jesus said, ”Blessed are the peacemakers..." He did not say," Blessed are the peacekeepers..." I once was a peacekeeper. I despised conflict and avoided rocking the boat. I attempted to keep the peace no matter what and even paid the high price of being dishonest with others and myself. Peacekeeping did not work. When my relationships started to crumble and deteriorate, I sought counseling. It was there I learned the difference between peacekeepers and peacemakers.
Peacekeepers avoid conflict, pretend everything is okay, and settle for fake peace where there is no resolve or restoration. Peacekeepers hide behind a mask trying to look humble and virtuous. They hide their heads in the sand while life falls apart around them. They are not about their relationships or the other person. They just want the conflict to go away at any cost. This creates a toxic environment and usually leads to breakdown in relationships or with oneself. Peacekeepers believe it is their responsibility to keep the peace, finding it difficult to trust God and His wonder-working power.
Peacemakers, on the other hand, are usually painfully honest with how they are feeling about themselves and others. They are willing to live in the tension until true and lasting reconciliation and restoration have occurred. Peacemakers are all about restoring relationship....they value their relationship over being right. Peacemakers are usually authentic people. They may not like tension or conflict, but they don't hide from it either. Peacemakers believe God wants to bring peace, will bring peace, and has brought peace. They trust Him with the hard stuff.
Jesus enters into conflict and tension. He speaks truth to power many times. When He speaks, light dispels darkness, bringing more than one "light bulb" moment for His disciples. Jesus is all about loving the other, and He places a very high value on His relationships with us. He is willing to get dirty while helping us with our messy lives. He definitely is not about relieving the tension — it’s often the tension in our lives that causes us to run to Him, where we find Him waiting and willing to help and restore. But sometimes, at the end of the day, the only result may be to respectfully agree to disagree with one another.
Social unrest persists in our nation and communities. It is a spiritual battle in a spiritual war. In our conversations with our spouses, friends, co-workers, and neighbors, speaking our opinion matters, but speaking the truth in love matters more, for it is there that peace can be found.
PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, who biddest thy Church to bring all men to thyself; make clear to each one of us his part in the task. Fire our minds with a vision of a more perfect society here on earth in which justice and right, peace and brotherhood, shall reign according to thy will; and helping each one to do our part, that thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen. (Methodist Prayer Book)