Chapter Nine: Blessed Are The Peacemakers
Matthew 5.9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
James writes, “What is the source of conflicts and quarrels among you? Is not the source the pleasures (passions, desires) waging war within you? You lust and do not have so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain [what they already have], so you fight and quarrel…” Paul confronted divisions within the Corinthian church by pointing out that the rightness of the doctrine is not proven by the preacher’s eloquence or their appeal to our egos. Nor could conflicts be resolved by divine signs or an appeal to common sense. Because the solution is the mystery of God’s wisdom, His grace and mercy.
These days there’s a lot of discussion regarding centuries of racial and tribal tensions, not only in the United States but in other countries as well. On a much smaller scale, conflicts occur within companies and other organizations. There are budget battles. When problems arise wherein more than one party/department is involved, the temptation to defend “us” and blame “them” is high. Like serving other gods, our conflicts might stem from a desire for what they have: bigger budget, more influence with the boss, to have our procedures, policies, strategic plans proven right, etc.
Conflicts can also occur defending our current practices. When a new manager comes in and describes how “they” did things at the “other place” or some other “new” idea, the battle lines are drawn. How dare there be an implication that what we do now is somehow “wrong”? It was working well enough.
So are the peacemakers, the lovers of peace, merely ones who avoid conflict and always subjugate their desires to the other people’s? Peacemakers are people who can exhibit peace of God (shalom) through their behaviors and drawing others into it as well. Shalom is not just an absence of conflict but also a wholeness of being. A contentedness. Well-being. A one-ness with the Spirit of God perhaps as described in Micah 6.8: doing justice, loving kindness, walking humbly with God.
…for they shall be called the children of God.
In an oft-overlooked verse, Christ tells us that we must leave our offering at the altar when there’s a conflict, no peace in one of our relationships. If we practiced this verse, our monetary donations would cease. Our additional offerings of talents and time to the church would cease. Churches would collapse. The second letter to the Corinthians might be called the Book of Shalom: first, be reconciled with God; second, be reconciled with each other; third, bring about reconciliation between others and God—be ambassadors and be reckless.
Humanity is God’s greatest creation. To be the children of God, we should treat others as the children of God. Donna Hicks worked to resolve international conflicts through the maintenance of people’s dignity. She then helped corporations resolve internal conflicts through the same means. I’ve called teams to a greater purpose, a greater hope and the ideal of working in unison to resolve departmental conflicts. A wise friend once told me that an ongoing argument exists because both parties derive some benefit from the battle. If we can find another means to accomplish those desires, we can bring about peace. This is a godly goal, because we cannot achieve great results unless the whole team rows together. We do not work in isolation; we are interdependent as business units, departments, teams and individuals—a perspective Covey reminds us in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. To quote Donne, “No man is an island…Each man’s death diminishes me…send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.” We will either work together or we will fail together. Therefore, let us bring shalom to our workplaces.
- Matthew 5.9
- Matthew 5.23-24
- Matthew 5.44-45
- 1 Corinthians 1.10-13
- 2 Corinthians 5.11-15
- Look at Matthew 5.23-24. It starts with a “Therefore…” We always ask ourselves, “What is that therefore there for?” Christ exhorts us against being angry at another person, diminishing another, condemning another to emotional or relational death by calling them a “good-for-nothing” or, worse yet, a fool. Therefore, if we have hurt another, we must seek peace. With whom might you have to be reconciled?
- What conflicts at work are getting in the way of better results?
- How might you influence a truce and a peace?
- What will you do differently this week?
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Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted For The Sake of Righteousness