How do others see you? Are you a trouble-maker, the one who always stirs up discord between people, or do you try to make things better?
“And that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:16)
In any group there always seems to be a leader, the person who comes up with ideas—who isn’t content to just sit around doing nothing. That’s not what we’re talking about. Having ideas is great; God frequently seems to bless people who end up making a difference with ideas. Being bored isn’t bad either, because it’s boredom that motivates us to get creative. It’s stirring up interpersonal discord that’s wrong.
Christ is the ultimate peace-maker. Ephesians 2:16 tells us that (because all are sinful and fall short of the perfection of God) He reconciled both those who lived according to the Law and those who didn’t to God through His death on the cross. Not only did He unite us with one another within His body, the church, but more importantly, He reconciled us to God. What an example!
In Matthew 5:3-10, the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pointed out qualities we, as those who follow Him, are to exhibit:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The Complete Word Study New Testament (Zodhiates) gives an excellent explanation of the various terms here used:
“The Greek word translated “blessed” is makarioi, which means to be “fully satisfied.”…Blessedness is not static, but progressive. This progress depends upon the fulfillment of the conditions set down in these Beatitudes:
(1) “The poor in spirit…”…indicates a “helpless” person…The first step toward blessedness is a realization of one’s own spiritual helplessness.
(2) “They that mourn…”…are those who sorrow for their sins and the sins of others.
(3) The “meek” ones are willing to see themselves as they really are. This concept that thay have of themselves is evidenced in their submission to God and His Word, as well as in their dealings with others.
(4) “They which do hunger…”…could be better rendered “the hungering ones.” This indicates a constant and recurrent satisfaction with God’s righteousness; the nourishment received from being filled is expended in hungering anew for another filling.
(5) The “merciful” are characterized by a caring attitude for those who are in misery. They take the heartaches of others and make them their own.
(6) “Purity of heart” can only be acquired through the continuous cleansing that believers experience when they have fulfilled the previous condition of blessedness. The purer a person becomes, the more clearly he can see God.
(7) A “peacemaker” is not simply someone who tries to stop the feuding between nations and people. It is a believer that has experienced the peace of God and who brings that peace to his fellow human beings.
(8) Being “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” causes a person to reach the highest level of the satisfaction of blessedness.”
These qualities are the opposite of a person looking to sow discord. Being a peacemaker is so much more than simply not stirring up trouble, and even more than reconciling feuding parties. It also involves evangelism, actively reconciling sinful humans to the God who created them!
Help me be a peacemaker—not only between people, but also by helping them come to You, the only Reconciliation between us and a holy God. In Your name, Amen.