If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
We’ve discussed the first six Beatitudes now. Whew! Guess it’s time to look at number seven.
Matthew 5:9 says “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The King James Version says “children of God” instead of “sons of God,” but other than that the standard translations are identical. Nothing in that little difference to make a big point about.
Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary defines peacemaker as “one who makes peace, especially by reconciling parties at variance.” Although the first part of that definition sounds a bit like a large DUH, the second part makes it into a very accurate definition of what Jesus was saying here.
When we think of the word “peace” today, we tend to think of the sort of peace the hippies sought back in the 1960s with their peace signs:
Their idea of peace involved stopping war, and their method of achieving it was just to lay down arms and hope the enemy would do likewise. This is a hope that history shows to be foolish. When a belligerent sees an enemy disarm, it takes that opportunity to attack, not to back off.
This is not what Jesus means by peace at all. There is no reconciliation in this kind of disarmament. The interests of the parties have not been reconciled at all. One party just gives up and hopes, and that hope is futile.
The key thought in this peacemaking Jesus is talking about is reconciliation. This is something that was very near and dear to His heart.
Luke 11:17 says “. . . Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls.” He goes on to say in verse 23 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”
Jesus is not into divisiveness. He’s very much into unity. He wants His church to be in union—with Him, with the Father, and with one another. He spends the entire 17th chapter of John pleading with the Father for this union.
Since the very crux of our fallen nature is egocentricity, we are naturally at odds with one another. My wants, my desires, my goals are more important than yours. Don’t get in my way, because I’m seeking to satisfy my own agenda. This is the natural man. We inherently war with our fellow man, because his goals are not ours.
The role of the peacemaker is to help overcome this natural enmity among men by reconciling their differences. I’ll never be completely other-centered in this life. Fallen man is not capable of that. But if you can reconcile some of the differences between me and my neighbor, either by your words or your example, then you become a peacemaker, at least in that instance.
If we have allowed God free enough access to our hearts to build the first six of these Beatitudes into our natures, and then we allow Him to develop this seventh one in us as well, then we truly become peacemakers. That’s when we come to the point that we want the unity Jesus talked about in John 17 more than we want to achieve our own selfish ends. That’s when we become sons of God.
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David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Web Wisdom: Godly Thoughts and Inspiration from the Inbox and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.
Contact me at email@example.com or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx