by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Matthew 5:9
"Blessed are the peacemakers," Jesus said (Matthew 5:9). Interestingly, this is the only time in all the New Testament that the Greek term translated "peacemakers" appears. Maybe it will help us understand the meaning by pointing out first what it does not mean.
- It does not mean, "Blessed are those who avoid all conflict and confrontations."
- Neither does it mean, "Blessed are those who are laidback, easygoing, and relaxed."
- Nor, "Blessed are those who defend a 'peace at any price' philosophy."
- It doesn't mean, "Blessed are the passive, those who compromise their convictions when surrounded by those who would disagree."
No, none of those ideas is a characteristic of the "peacemaker" in this verse. The overall thrust of Scripture is the imperative, "Make peace!" (Check out Romans 12:18; 14:19; and James 3:16–4:2.)
A "peacemaker" describes those servants who . . . first, are at peace with themselves—internally, at ease . . . not agitated, ill-tempered, in turmoil . . . and therefore not abrasive. Second, they work hard to settle quarrels, not to start them; they are accepting, tolerant, and find no pleasure in being negative. In the words of Ephesians 4:3, peacemakers "preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ever been around Christians who are not peacemakers? Of course. Was it pleasant? Did you sense a servant's heart? Were you built up and encouraged . . . was the body of Christ strengthened and supported? You know the answers.
Solomon gives us wise counsel on some of the things peacemakers do:
- They build up. "The wise woman builds her house" (Proverbs 14:1).
- They watch their tongues and heal rather than hurt. "A gentle answer turns away wrath" (15:1). "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones" (16:24).
- They are slow to anger. "A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute" (15:18). "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city" (16:32).
- They are humble and trusting. "An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper" (28:25).
The Lord Jesus states a marvelous promise that peacemakers can claim: "they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). God's children. Few things are more godlike than peace.
When we promote it, pursue it, model it, we are linked directly with Him.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.