How to be a Peacemaker
Every time I turn on the TV or look on social media, I’m bombarded with news of how divided our world is. Even in our day-to-day lives, we don’t have to go far to come across people with differing opinions. It’s easy to get caught up in the need to be right, to become fearful of what’s to come, or to even grow numb to the discord that surrounds us. But God calls us to be peacemakers in this broken world.
Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (NIV). Another translation reads, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God” (NLT).
So what does being a peacemaker mean?
A peacemaker is someone who actively works to bring about spiritual peace in a world filled with division and hate. That doesn’t mean being passive and doing nothing for the sake of avoiding conflict. Rather than appeasing, peacemaking often requires working through hard issues because there is true peace on the other side. Peacemaking is actually messy and brave work.
Here are some ways that we can work toward being peacemakers:
Search your heart
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” -Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV
One of the ways discord can creep into our lives is through our opinions of other people. Take some time to look at your life and the people you hang around. Is there anyone you seem to always be in conflict with? Is there a people group that you tend to think of negatively?
Ask God to search your heart and make known any prejudices or areas of conflict you need to address and work through. Do you need to forgive someone or ask for forgiveness? Do you need to expand your circle to include people who may look or think differently than you? If we are going to be people who spread peace in the world, we must start by making peace toward others in our hearts.
Listen, and offer truth when necessary
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” -James 3:18 NIV
I have a problem with always wanting to be right. But, lately, the Lord has been teaching me how to listen to others without feeling like I have to insert my every opinion. Listening is the first step to understanding. Hearing a person’s story can be a powerful tool for bringing about compassion and empathy.
One thing I love about Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is how often the scriptures record Him visiting with people in their homes. People that weren’t like Him. People that others had dismissed as sinners. And, I imagine, as He was breaking bread with them, He listened. He listened to them share their stories and spill out their brokenness and hurt. He didn’t shame them, but offered a shoulder to cry on.
However, we also know that Jesus made sure to always offer truth to those that He came in contact with. Even when the truth made people upset or led to confrontation, Jesus knew it was worth sharing because it meant eternal peace for those who accepted it. He was anything but passive because He knew what was important. The same goes for us today. By sharing the Gospel with others, even when it’s uncomfortable, we can be people who sow seeds of peace.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” -Isaiah 26:3 NIV
There’s no doubt that the devil is at work in the world, and divisiveness is one of his best weapons. But we serve a Heavenly Father who is in perfect control. We can use the power of prayer to let the Holy Spirit act on our behalf and bring peace.
We can pray for our hearts to be full of compassion and love for others. We can pray for the Lord to restore broken relationships. We can pray for people to be open to the truth of the Gospel. In every part of our lives, we can pray for the peace of God that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
May we be people who are known for bringing the peace of Jesus Christ with us wherever we go.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” -John 16:33 NIV
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abigail is a 25-year-old freelance writer from Jackson, MS who earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and English from Mississippi College in 2015. She spends most of her time climbing ladders and recommending her favorite authors at Lemuria Books. You can read more of her writing at abbiewalker.com.