Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
In a world of incivility fueled by individual rights and personal agendas, peace seems unrealistic. Rudeness is not new, but it does seem to be intensifying. Families embroiled in conflict often seem beyond any hope of reconciliation. Perhaps we need more unwavering peacemakers.
Peacemaker and ‘peacekeeper’ are not the same thing. Only ‘peacemaker’ is found in Scripture. So, what is the difference? Isn’t it merely a game of semantics? I don’t think so. I believe the differences are significant.
Peacekeepers value the image of peace—eliminating the appearance of conflict rather than accomplishing true reconciliation. A peacekeeper is satisfied with the impression of winning peace, even it means compromising the truth to accomplish it. They will settle for some measure of peace regardless of consequences.
In other words, peacekeepers value the impression than conflict is restrained, even if it is only short-term, rather than the achievement of true reconciliation and restored relationships.
Peacemakers, on the other hand, have a very different objective. It is not about them, but honoring the value of every person involved in a conflict. It is about and unwavering resolve to hold firmly to what is true, honorable and lasting. They’re objective is not ‘winning’, but reconciling. They aren’t concerned with image or their own comfort, but building a foundation of trust upon which God’s grace can transform hearts, and the peace that passes all understanding will dissolve the conflict and restore families.
Peacemakers are unwavering in their pursuit of what’s beneficial for all, not simply the cessation of conflict. They are motivated by compassion and the compelling of Christ and His Gospel. For the love of Christ compels us (controls us), because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died… that those who died should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and was raised again (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
Here a few thoughts about how peacemakers might approach conflict in family relationships:
- Listen carefully and compassionately. Let everyone talk without responding except for clarification. Don’t get defensive.
- If someone believes you are part of the problem, swallow your pride and ask for forgiveness. (It doesn’t matter if you think you are right. Be sincere. They will know if you aren’t.)
- When someone expresses a concern or problem, ask them for ideas about how to resolve it.
- Don’t dig up the past and replay old hurts. Focus on what is needed to move forward. What are some of the good things that build each other up we can focus on?
Peacemaking is hard work. These suggestions are but first steps towards creating a peacemaking environment. Prayer is the most powerful tool you have in your arsenal. Use it regularly.
How would your kids label you—a peacemaker or a peacekeeper? There is a world of difference—the difference between real peace and pretend peace. Peacemakers shall be called “sons of God” because the Gospel compels them to imitate their Prince of Peace. In Him alone is our hope for peace.