“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
I’m a dad of six kids. I know a peace that has been shattered. Often. When the peace is ripped apart by warring siblings or irritated parents, it’s easy – and sometimes necessary – to get some space. That is peacekeeping.
Peacemaking is harder. “Go to your room,” and you can happily wallow in your self-justification, chew on your own conclusions about the other person, or just bury the moment and move on. The real work, we know, is to bring the grumpy, angry and wounded together, have them look one another in the eye, own their part, forgive, receive forgiveness and embrace, literally, being family.
God Is Not A Peackeeper
Our Heavenly Father is not a peacekeeper; he is a peacemaker.
Scripture is filled with peacemaking as the will of the Father.
God wants to make peace with us, in us, and between us. When Gideon comes face to face with the angel of the Lord, he is sure he will perish. The Lord, however, brings peace, not woe: “Peace be to you.” In awe, Gideon builds an altar naming it “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:23-24).
When the disciples are surprised by the resurrected Jesus appearing to them in their fearful hiding, Jesus’ first words are, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).
When Paul the apostle describes what Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross to make sinners right with God, he declares the great internal reality of inner peace: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
When Paul describes what Jesus has wrought between Jews and Gentiles – the warring siblings – he says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…” (Ephesians 2:14).
Our Father’s heart is on his sleeve: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Peace is our Father’s will: peace with him, peace within and peace between his kids.
You Can’t Bring Peace Unless You Have Peace
Furthermore, God wants us to bring his peace to his fractured world. To know God is to join him his peacemaking work. The reason we need to experience peace with God through Christ is because we cannot make peace we do not have. Peace as the Father’s will is the enviable life Christians have in Christ and the blessed way we live. The early church was instructed: “make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification” (Romans 14:9). Peacemaking is a fruit of knowing God the Peacemaker. It is, as Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson write in Resolving Everyday Conflict, “applying the gospel and God’s principles for problem-solving to everyday life.” This is where the Gospel comes closest to home – our feet are to wear the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace wherever we go (Ephesians 6:15).
The reason we need to experience peace with God through Christ is because we cannot make peace we do not have.
Peacemaking is to be our spiritual life in practice: “…if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
To be a child of God is to be at peace with the Father, at peace within yourself and to make peace like he does. To bring wholeness, tie broken things together and actively bring about the end of whatever wars we can is God’s family business.
Slow Down and Consider
Where is peace shattered around you? In the back of your minivan? Between you and a colleague? With your spouse? Is there conflict in your church? Are politics dividing friends? Are we content with avoidance and tolerance that only ever produces fragile armistices? Our Heavenly Father is a Peacemaker; what is keeping me from moving beyond peacekeeping?
God ended the war. In Christ, God has made a comprehensive, whole peace for the world – it’s what the angels announced at Jesus’ birth; “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14). In Jesus Christ, God reveals how peace is made: he joined the wounded (that’s us), named the wounds (Jesus’ words expose where brokenness and peace-less-ness is), forgave the offender (the cross being the ultimate way to this), and built a common future (he speaks over us his peace and then says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” John 20:21).
Jesus made peace and destroyed our hostility with those who are different, disappoint or even damage us.
The cross is a paradox: an instrument of cruelty rebranded as a peacemaking symbol. The high honor of being called “sons of God,” peacemakers, comes at a high cost. Yet someone has to make peace, or things don’t just keep – they deteriorate.
So, where must I join the wounded, name the wounds, offer forgiveness and work for a common future? What is holding me back from living like my Father? Where must I get beyond keeping peace and start making it?
As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commission from qualifying purchases on Amazon.ca. Learn more.