Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
My heart desired to be the peacemaker God called me to be, but I did not understand the biblical meaning of peacemaking and certainly did not understand how to put this command into action. In my misunderstood application of the biblical concept of peacemaking, I was actually becoming quite the skilled peace-faker. In my effort to work it out without spiritual revelation, I became a conflict avoider (peace-faker). When conflict arose, I would pray about it and decide to just let it go, to be the “bigger one,” to turn the other cheek and forgive. I mistakenly believed that being a peacemaker meant always sacrificing yourself to avoid conflict. This was against every grain of my being as I have always been an advocate. If you wont speak up for yourself, I will speak up for you. I have never been a conflict avoider.
Peace-faking worked for a while; until the same issue raised it’s irritating head one time too many and rather than being a peace-faking peacemaker, I became an exploding confrontational volcano of pent up frustrated unresolved emotion spilling out in a projectile cathartic rant! Needless to say, this did not make peace with anyone and did not resolve the issue. I knew my words spewed from a place of sin because they were self motivated. I wanted to take them back, but we all know we can’t do that. What we can do is apologize, repent and ask God to show us more of His way. It took me a while to figure it out, but God eventually showed me that the root of my anger had less to do with the repetitive issue and more to do with an insecurity within myself.
I prayed for direction about how to be the peacemaker God wants me to be. I did a lot of bible study on the issue and as always, God’s word proved to be an infallible answer for every problem life (or the enemy) throws at us. What I learned was that some conflicts are too serious to overlook and a loving conflict resolution is a peacemaking action. This is a far better approach than peace-faking which only gave the appearance of peace while unforgiveness simmered beneath the surface. I learned that true peacemaking is rooted in the realization that God has forgiven all our sins and has made peace with us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. When we have true revelation of God’s forgiveness, we are better able to forgive others, to confront with love and to lay down our rights for others. It was a pretty humbling experience to be so certain that I was right and my actions were justified only to get a firm but loving reminder from God that I needed to face up to the root cause of the conflict. James 4:1 tells us “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from the desires that battle within you?” Some of the desires that fuel conflict are obviously sinful. In many cases, however, conflict is fueled by good desires that we have elevated to sinful demands. This was the case with me. I was deceived by the enemy.
Conflicts will arise and can arise in every type of relationship. We will be called into situations that require our biblical peacemaking skills. After learning a hard lesson and praying for discernment, I try now to better recognize when the conflict is a serious one that needs loving confrontation. It isn’t always easy; sometimes it is hard. What I have recognized is that for me, it is hardest when I am hanging on to a position of feeling justified. But when my heart is pure and I am at peace with God, I can not only have the peace of God, but I can be the peacemaker He has called me to be. “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” James 3:18 ~ Tracey
Your Turn: Have you struggled with biblical peacemaking? How has God revealed Himself to you in a conflict? We would love for you to share your heart with us. ~ Breath on Paper