“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
My chubby fingers gripped the pencil in anger as I copied that statement on lined notebook paper for the 99th time. I was hunched over my desk, pigtails flopping in my eyes, still fuming as I wrote the sentence one last time to earn my freedom on the playground.
Following an argument I had with a classmate near the water fountain, my no-nonsense 5th grade teacher had sent both of us to corners of the classroom and tasked us with copying the familiar Bible verse 100 times each, to be written in cursive and in complete silence. I suppose her intention was to both silence us and cause us to reflect on our argument. The only outcome for me was that I forever avoided being near that classmate and I forever remember Matthew 5:9.
Over the years that verse, engraved in my spirit with a #2 pencil back in 1975, has caused me to pause and reflect when my natural instinct was anger.
I always felt that being a peacemaker meant I needed to hold my tongue. To refrain from letting loose the words born in my angry heart, to stand idly by when situations were tense.
Only in adulthood have I come to realize that Jesus is calling us to be peaceMAKERS, not merely peaceKEEPERS.
A peacekeeper might withhold words, withhold action, just to keep a fragile balance in a situation or relationship.
A peacemaker might speak gentle words of truth, words of love that are awkward or unpleasant, but those words can bring clarity, understanding, and healing.
Are you living in a situation, in a relationship, and too much is going unspoken? Are you walking in silence to maintain an uneasy “peace?” Are you avoiding what I call “the difficult conversation?” How many times do you have conversations in your mind, wishing you had said this, wishing you had done that…only to realize that you did nothing, said nothing, and the temporary peace you kept is only a breeding ground for hurt, resentment, anger, and pain?
Jesus wasn’t afraid of the difficult conversation, and He showed us that sometimes for there to be peace we need to be silent, and sometimes we need to speak.
How is He nudging your heart today? How can you be not only a peacekeeper, but a peacemaker?
“Let there be peace on Earth,
And let it begin with me.”
–Dr. Shari Finkler