Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)
One of my earliest exposures to the word “peacemaker” was old Westerns. The Colt “Peacemaker” was used by the hero to fend off the villain. But firearms are not what Jesus has in mind. It behooves us to remember that, particularly in light of his other teachings about turning the other cheek and non-resistance when someone attempts to impose their will on you by force.
As Christians we are called to be part of the solution in times of conflict, not part of the problem. When others oppose us, we stand up for Jesus, but never do so by putting others to the sword. I am afraid in the current political climate that too many who claim the name of Christ have sold out being salt and light in favor of being recognized by worldly power-brokers and politicians. Too many have forsaken being a counter-cultural influence for sake of Jesus in order to see Christianity’s standing as part of the culture, a worldly power to be reckoned with instead of heavenly kingdom to be hoped for.
But if we reclaim our inheritance in Christ as those who make peace instead of instigating culture wars, we’ll likewise reclaim the blessing Jesus promises in this beatitude. We need never should allow the world to triangulate us into their conflicts. We can always join in common cause with those who share a commitment to justice on particular issues (e.g. combating racism, poverty, human trafficking, etc.), but we should not be surprised that those outside the Church have different values on other issues (lifelong marriage, the need for prayer, etc.). And when others directly oppose us when we take a stand for Christ, we treat them with compassion, not retaliation.
If we advocate for peace instead of war, lead lives marked by tranquility in relationship to others, and cultivate serenity within, we’ll show the world that we are indeed children of God. If Jesus was willing to endure the atrocities he did for the sake of love, how much more should we be willing to emulate him when we interact with even the most caustic individual or most fraught situation. If we live as peacemakers, we’ll demonstrate that God really is our Father, and his blessing will rest on us always.
Lord of peace, help me to live at peace with others and experience your peace within, and thus prove to be your child.