If you go to church for any length of time, you will inevitably hear a sermon series on the “Beatitudes.” The first time I heard this word I was a bit freaked out, because that is not a word. However, I quickly learned that church people make up words all the time, and this was no more egregious then many of my personal inventions. The Beatitudes are the first few verses found in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was teaching people about the Kingdom and trying to make tangible something that was completely foreign to humanity.
Favorite preacher passages are ones like “Blessed are the meek…Blessed are the poor in spirit…Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” because their applications are direct. The meek gain strength in the Lord, the poor in spirit get the Kingdom, and those who hunger and seek for righteousness are satisfied by their pursuit. One of the more difficult “Beatitudes” to preach is this one “Blessed are the peacemakers…” Why is that so hard? It seems like Christians should want to be peacemakers. Jesus brought peace to humanity by becoming human, and dying a criminal’s death. That’s what Christian believe. However, it seems that in this day and age peacemaking is not only tough to preach, but it’s extremely tough to live. In this modern day of hot takes, indignation, outrage at all disagreement, and the need to paint everyone we interact with on social media as either Satan or the Second Coming, we have lost the desire to make peace. The gentle answer that turns away wrath. The ability to lovingly disagree or better yet, NOT engage (It’s an unwritten maxim of social media that the best fights are the ones not entered into). The ability to look at someone we love, who is representing beliefs we absolutely abhor, and recognizing we still love them and want to build peace not relational destruction. Is there ever a time when peacemakers were more needed? In this divisive and binary climate, don’t we believe that Jesus would want that from His people?
Maybe it’s just the circles I run in online, but I find that “His “people” are some of the most nasty, intolerant, and totalitarian people out there. My friends, how can that be? How can we not lovingly make peace in a world where making peace would be an act of radical obedience? The promise Jesus gave for the peacemakers was this: that they would be called Children of God. Was Jesus saying that His real people would be those who fostered peace, not conflict? Jesus did advocate conflict, but only for the sake of the Gospel. Too often we stoke the fires of rage in others for politics, or feelings, or social awareness; and we miss the point of engaging with the Gospel (which is love and peace, and the only answer to the human condition).
I know it’s difficult, especially when confronted with those who are so virulently against all things godly. However, for Jesus’ sake, don’t hit send on your “pièce de résistance” of a post that will cripple your opponent; give them the love of the Gospel instead. If we are really His children, shouldn’t that be our normal response?