Misunderstood: Blessed are the Peacemakers 

Insights from The Weekly REBOOT

By: Evan Owens

Welcome back to the third installment of our thought-provoking series, “Misunderstood.” As we navigate through these often-misinterpreted verses, we hope you’ve found this series to be a source of blessing and renewed understanding.

We’ve encountered numerous verses that are frequently pulled out of context or misinterpreted, leading to widespread misconceptions. In this series, we’ve explored the role of money in our lives and confronted the idea that God won’t give us more than we can handle. 

Today, our focus shifts to a verse nestled within the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5:9.

Let’s read Matthew 5:1-12 together:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,

    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

    for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

    for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

    for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

    for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

    for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Peacemakers, not Peacekeepers

Our spotlight is on verse 9, which declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” While this verse may not be quoted as frequently, it is among the more misunderstood passages in the Bible.

Peacemaking, as Jesus intended, goes beyond the absence of conflict. It does not endorse pacifism or avoidance of strife. The “peace at any price” mentality is contrary to biblical teachings. Instead, peacemaking involves actively seeking reconciliation – bringing together those who were once divided.

Breaking down the term “peacemakers,” we find that “peace” derives from the Hebrew word “shalom,” conveying well-being and blessings. The word “maker” implies intentional action, emphasizing the need for active involvement in promoting peace.

In the biblical context, peacemakers are closely tied to justice and righteousness. Lasting peace is impossible without these virtues. Peacekeeping, devoid of justice and righteousness, merely ignores conflict rather than resolving it.

The Cost of Peacemaking

Embracing the role of a peacemaker is not a lighthearted endeavor. It involves messy, soul-wrenching, and self-sacrificing work. Jesus himself, the ultimate Peacemaker, endured immense conflict and strife for the sake of reconciliation.

Peacemaking is a high-risk venture, where the likelihood of getting hurt is nearly 100%. Despite our best efforts, not everyone may respond positively to our attempts at making peace. Romans 12:18 reminds us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

The responsibility of peacemaking lies in our pursuit of peace, not in controlling others’ responses.

The Beatitudes, including the call to be peacemakers, challenge us to undergo a transformation – a death to self and the birth of a new, spiritually aligned creature. They overturn worldly logic, emphasizing the value of meekness, humility, and hunger for righteousness.

For many within our REBOOT community, confronting past wounds and seeking peace can be a daunting task. The fear of making peace with a painful past or individuals who have caused harm may seem risky. However, the effort to make peace itself is what brings blessing.

The Good News you bring to the conversation is the proclamation of forgiveness and freedom from the chains of past mistakes and trauma. The reward in heaven awaits those who, despite facing persecution, stand as peacemakers in the footsteps of countless prophets before them.

Biblical Examples of Peacemaking

To deepen our understanding of peacemaking, let’s explore biblical examples of individuals who embodied this virtue. Joseph, despite being sold into slavery by his brothers, chose forgiveness and reconciliation when he was in a position of power in Egypt. His story is a testament to the transformative power of choosing peace over revenge.

Another powerful example is Jesus himself, who, despite facing betrayal, false accusations, and crucifixion, prayed for forgiveness for his persecutors. His sacrificial act on the cross was the ultimate peacemaking gesture, reconciling humanity with God.

By examining these biblical examples, we learn that peacemaking requires a commitment to forgiveness, reconciliation, and the pursuit of justice. It is a transformative process that brings healing and restoration.

Practical Steps to Becoming Peacemakers

Understanding the biblical concept of peacemaking is crucial, but how do we translate it into practical actions in our daily lives? Let’s explore some tangible steps to becoming peacemakers in our families, communities, and beyond:

Embrace a Humble Attitude: Peacemaking starts with humility. Acknowledge our own shortcomings and be willing to extend grace to others.

Active Listening: Seek to understand others’ perspectives by actively listening without judgment. Empathy is a powerful tool in fostering understanding and reconciliation.

Choose Forgiveness: Let go of resentment and choose forgiveness, even when it seems difficult. Forgiveness is a key component of peacemaking.

Promote Justice: Work towards creating an environment of justice and fairness. Addressing underlying issues contributes to lasting peace.

Encourage Dialogue: Create spaces for open and honest dialogue. Communication is essential for resolving conflicts and building bridges.

Be a Catalyst for Change: Take intentional steps to address systemic issues contributing to conflict. Advocate for positive change in your community.

Lead by Example: Demonstrate the principles of peacemaking in your own life. Your actions can inspire others to follow suit.

Peacemakers in the Modern World

Peacemaking is not confined to biblical times; it remains a relevant and vital concept in the modern world. In a society marked by division, strife, and injustice, the need for peacemakers is greater than ever.

Throughout REBOOT, I know that many of you uncover wounds from past abuse, neglect, and betrayal. I have seen how deeply those wounds hurt, and I understand the fear of trying to make peace with your past or with someone who has hurt you is a high-risk endeavor.

But remember, their response isn’t what makes you blessed; rather, it is your effort to make peace. It is the good news that you bring to the conversation – good news that says you are forgiving and, therefore, are forgiven. The Good News that Christ has set you free from the chains of your past mistakes and trauma. It is the Good News that regardless of how those who hurt you respond, you are in line to receive a great reward in heaven as you share in the same kind of persecution experienced by countless others who have gone before you.

Blessed are you.

Blessed are you for trying to make peace.

Blessed are you for taking the first step towards reconciliation.

Blessed are you for forgiving those who have trespassed against you.

Blessed are you for keeping no records of wrongs.

He says that peacemakers will be called “children of God.”

He ends the verse that way because, as you work to make peace, you are reflecting the heart of your father. You are trying to restore that which was severed by sin.

Jesus was the great peacemaker, and through the Holy Spirit, you can imitate him and make peace with yourself, with others, and with God.

So, the only way I know to end this article is to simply say, “Shalom.”

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