Blessed Are the Peacemakers
For the past several weeks, we have been going verse by verse through the beatitudes that mark the beginning of Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount,” recorded in the book of Matthew. Each week we have unpacked what it looks like to live in such a way as these verses describe — poor in spirit, spiritually morning over our sins, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, and pure of heart.
Today we come to the seventh beatitude:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Oh! But peace can be so hard to achieve in the tumult of grief. When we are grieving we are more sensitive to the remarks people make, we often feel isolated, alone, misunderstood, or abandoned. The hurricane of grief and flood of emotions that follow the loss of a child, can be a breading ground for tension to grow in your relationships with others.
In our hearts, we create expectations for how we long for people to respond to the sorrow we carry. We want everyone to think and feel and react exactly as we do in our precious baby’s absence, because that’s all we know and can see. And when our friends and family don’t meet our expectations of them we become hurt, disappointed, and even angry.
But dear one, as children of God we are called to be peacemakers regardless of the grief and pain that have become our reality.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Does this even seem possible to you? Can you really have peace in your marriage when your husband is grieving so differently than you? Can you really have peace with your friends who seem to keep you at arms length or who have failed to ever mention the loss of your baby because they don’t know how to come alongside you in the midst of your sorrow? Can you really have peace with those who encourage you to just “get over it” so that you can resume life as normal? Can peace be achieved with those who you have hurt or pushed away while you have been overcome with the weight of your emotions?
As far as it depends on you…
You are not responsible for the choices of those around you, but you are responsible for you. Don’t let a disruption in your relationships be caused by you. There may be times when peace is not possible because of the decisions and attitudes of others, but as far as it depends on you, seek peace! While this may feel impossible to come to on your own strength, you have access to the greatest source of peace the world has ever known.
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:23
As children of God, we ought to be known as peacemakers. Matthew 5:9 is not telling us how to become sons of God, but rather declaring that those who are in Christ will reflect the character of their heavenly Father. We belong to the God of peace. And this God sent His Son, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), into the world so that we could be filled with His perfect peace.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Jesus was the ultimate example of what it looks like to be a peacemaker.
“For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.”
Whenever you feel discouraged by the seemingly insurmountable task of being a peacemaker, look to the cross. Our Savior left His perfect home in heaven to live on this broken earth, be rejected and scorned, die a brutal and shameful death, and bear the full measure of the wrath of God in order to make peace with mankind even while we were still His enemies. Being a peacemaker is not a glamorous role, but it is what reflects the beauty of God to a world groaning under the weight of sin.
As we press into the God of peace, as we allow Him to fill our hearts with His peace, we will find that it becomes easier to seek peace with others — not because we have less conflict and tension in our lives or because those around us are easier to get along with, but because His Spirit is at work producing the fruit of peace in us.
So rather than insisting that everyone cater to your needs and desires in the midst of your grief, surrender your rights as Christ did. Rather than getting angry or pulling away from others when their attempts to comfort and encourage you in your sorrow fall flat, show them grace and seek to love them as Christ does. When you suffer unjustly by the insensitivity or unkindness of others, remember that Christ as been there. No one as experienced as much injustice as Christ did, and yet He came to bring peace to a world that hated Him.
The world will know that we are God’s children when they see that we are willing to make sacrifices for peace the way God did. Much beauty can rise from the ashes of our sorrow as we grieve in a way that points others to the hope we have in Christ. And as we live in this way in the midst of our heartache and sorrow — seeking peace with those around us — we our letting our lives showcase the glory of God.
“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
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