Having A Peacemakers Identity

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:13-16.

How would you respond if you were asked to describe your identity?  Who are you? Your identity in Christ is far different than your personal identity which is commonly defined by your family role or job description. It also includes your personality traits, hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc.  But when you think of your identity, do you think of being a peacemaker? Probably not.

Peacemaking is a divine work. God is the author of peace. And, Jesus is the supreme Peacemaker. Jesus came to establish peace; His message explained peace; His death purchased peace, and His resurrected presence enables peace. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Just before He was crucified, Jesus’ last will and testament was, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27) When the Lord returned after the resurrection, His first words to the disciples was “Peace be with you,” (Luke 24:36).

If being a Christian means following the teachings of Jesus Christ, then by definition there are practical implications and effects on our life and faith. One of those is to be a peacemaker. Being a peacemaker does not mean that you avoid all conflicts and confrontations. Nor does it mean that you are laidback, easygoing, relaxed, and passive and that you defend a “peace at any price” philosophy.

The idea of a peacemaker is to make peace. Romans 12:18 says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” James 3:18 adds, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” A peacemaker is a person who works to settle quarrels and diminish conflict. Peacemakers are accepting, tolerant, and refrain from being negative.

Solomon has a lot to say about peacemakers: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1) “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24). Peacemakers are slow to anger and are humble and trusting.

Our world desperately needs peacemakers who know the peace that only Christ can bring. Peace in homes where there is constant fighting and bickering. Peace in churches that are sometimes torn apart by conflict. Peace in cities where violence has broken out. Peace in our troubled hearts.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does a “peacemaker” mean to you? 
  2. How can we be more of a peacemaker this week? 

Blessed Is The Peacemaker

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9

The Beatitudes contain a well-known phrase: “Blessed are the peacemakers…” What Jesus calls good, and who Jesus calls blessed, is striking because His values seem to be upside down from our own.  Peacemaker…what does that mean?

It is not too bold to say there is a great deal of conflict to go around, and the question we should consider is how we Christians should respond to it. Unfortunately, it feels like we have been caught in the same mire as the rest of the world. Peacemaking, I’ve heard some Christians say, is not practical.

Is being a peacemaker the same thing as being a peacekeeper? Many people today pursue a “peacekeeping strategy,” hoping to prevent conflicts and crises that sometimes result. But since conflict is often inevitable, the peacekeeping mission does not always succeed. What we need is a “peacemaking” strategy. Psalm 34:14 says: “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

A peacekeeper simply avoids conflict. When there’s a disagreement, they retreat. A peace-maker is aiming for much more: they’re aiming for reconciliation.  And reconciliation is active, not passive. It means working through our disagreements in a healthy way. It means listening and understanding each other’s feelings. It means developing solutions together.

Can you see the difference? There is no name-calling. They talk through the issue, and at the end of the day, learn new things about each other. The people in a conflict may discover they were on the same page. Talking it through brings feelings out into the open and the peacemaking process can go forward.

We need to take Jesus’ words seriously. If a peacemaker is to be called a child of God, we should want to be one. To be one, however, will take some work. The pursuit of meaningful relationships is essential to peacemaking. Many of our divides exist because we do not actually know each other. That’s because we tend to see conflict as something to be avoided: so if we disagree, one must submit, or else the conflict will keep going. But what if all conflict is not win-lose? What if handling conflict effectively means that you each find a win-win? What if the conflict can actually be one of the routes to a reconciliation of the relationship?

Peacemaking will not be easy, maybe not even possible. However, we are still called to seek it. We remember Paul’s words for peacemakers in the Bible, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker in your mind?
  2. Is it realistic to think you can keep the peace all the time?
  3. Do you believe that one person has to submit in order to solve a conflict? Does one person have to lose? Why?
  4. What can we do this week to be a peacemaker?