The Christmas season brings on a great mixture of emotions. There is the busyness of the season and more interaction between our friends and family. It is a beautiful time, but it can also lead to self-awareness of the continual pursuit of renewal of mind and heart. We hear a lot about peace during this time of year. But, with Christmas behind us, I’m prompted to look at the difference between a peacemaker and a peacekeeper.
When trying to discern between the two, I must look at Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
The Oxford Dictionary definition of peacemaker- noun: a person who brings about peace, especially by reconciling adversaries. A peacemaker is a person who helps others solve a conflict and reach a peaceful solution. Before being identified as a peacemaker, I must have peace to live it out.
True peace comes from Jesus alone.
For unto us, a child is born; to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Isaiah 9:6 (NIV).
As I look to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, I see his examples in scripture where he models it first. And scriptures that state, He is our peace. Ephesians 2:14.
His peace is unshakeable.
Jesus bought our peace on the cross. He restores every broken relationship. He provided our freedom from sin. Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not deliver to you as the world offers. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Peace is active, not passive. It protects our hearts and minds.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since, as members of one body, you were called to peace. Colossians 3:15
Peace is victorious.
I read a blog on breakerministries.com where they described,
“A Rabbi friend explained that each letter in the Hebrew language has a picture meaning. The pictures collectively tell a story to uncover more meaning to a word. Hebrew reads from right to left. The word Shalom (peace) in Hebrew is 4 letters; when looking at the word pictures of each letter, it means- ‘Destroy the authority that attaches to chaos.’
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” If Jesus has all authority, then Satan no longer has it. The only way he gets entry is if we allow him to. We do this by believing his lies.”
What beautiful imagery! I marvel at the complexity and simplicity of the gospel all in one. This adds another layer of depth and awe for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. As I learn to settle this truth in my heart, it changes my outlook and helps me to see relationships differently.
I’m reminded of the scripture in Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
When I see it is not personal, I can empathize with the other party. I can strive to live out Ephesians 4:1-3.
I must operate with humility, gentleness, patience, and love to be a peacemaker.
Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
This means staying off the triangle, being present, and addressing my state of mind before a conversation. Using the 3 W’s, all these incredible tools, and the Holy Spirit will make a difference in our new way of handling things. The Holy Spirit is the ammunition of the devices described. Without Him, we cannot accomplish it on our own.
In Spirituallivingforbusypeople.com, it was so eloquently stated,
“A peacekeeper will try to avoid conflict to keep the peace. But this is a false sense of peace because it may avoid a conflict but not deal with the real issues harming or hindering the relationship. However, conflict is not an obstacle to peace. The wrong kind of conflict is and damages relationships. Many of our conflicts are caused by our unsuccessful attempts at avoiding conflict. This often starts unconsciously and innocently when we push our thoughts and feelings down to maintain a false sense of peace. Then, once the situation becomes unbearable, we erupt in anger before realizing what is happening. The right kind of conflict is not aggressive. It simply stands for one’s integrity. As peacemakers, we must be willing to state our position clearly and allow others to do the same. We must practice the balance of our rights and feelings and the feelings and rights of others. By allowing the peace of God to rule our hearts, we can practice speaking the truth in love with gentleness and humility.” Spirituallivingforbusypeople.com
I Peter 3:11b Seek peace and pursue it.
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
Peacemaking is a journey, not a destination. All trips begin with a step. As we set our hearts on eternal quests, we can better fulfill the call of Colossians 3:15. When we allow Christ to rule in our hearts and see our loved ones as members of one body, we can respond to the call to peace. When we exercise thankfulness, it helps us to accomplish peace. It removes the focus from us to God. This can help put things in a better perspective.
James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
When dealing with a questionable situation, I must ask myself these questions.
• Is my objective to be correct, or is it to build up the relationship? Ephesians 4:14-15
• Do I perceive the person as an adversary or a loved one? Luke11:17
• Am I quick to repent of my wrongdoing towards the other person?
• Am I listening to the person intending to understand their perspective?
• Am I living out Ephesians 4:29?
• Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what helps build others up according to their needs, which may benefit those who listen.
• Am I reacting to the present situation, or is it the last straw in the bucket of something more profound?
• (If possible) Did I prayerfully ask God for discernment and intervention before tackling the situation?
• Is this with them, or am I reacting to something else?
We will only sometimes get it right. But as we strive to live in the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit, we will gain better at becoming peacemakers.
One step at a time.