What is a peacemaker?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” (Matthew 5:9).
We call our policemen and soldiers peacemakers, but why? It’s because they risk their lives to save others, isn’t it?
The American Heritage Dictionary definition of “hero” is a person, often of divine ancestry, endowed with courage and strength, who is celebrated for bold exploits and favored by God. How is a peacemaker in the church someone like this? Specifically, what is a peacemaker in the church? Is it someone who extends mercy to others, or is it someone who extends the truth to others?
There are those who teach “peace,” but not the pursuit of it. A peacemaker to them is someone who disdains conflict and seeks to approve everyone’s concept of religion. To them, it doesn’t matter what teaching is followed, as long as everyone can agree, or better yet, agree to disagree.
These are reminiscent of those people in Jeremiah’s day who “have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace,” (Jeremiah 8:11 ASV). Israel wanted the prophets to let them alone and allow them to continue living in sin. Just insisting upon conformity and peace outside the precepts of the Bible is no peace at all.
We must remember true peace only comes when we are doing God’s will (Matthew 7:21). How can we be happy with our lives if our conduct is ruled by “looking the other way” in the presence of sinful conduct? That’s not peace. That’s slow suicide. People in sin do not wish to see their mistakes. They want an absence of conflict. That, my friends, is not peace.
When the Bible speaks of peace, it is speaking about reconciliation with God. Peace is made with God upon the repentance and cessation of sinful practices in God’s sight. Peace with God means getting out of the sinning business, which means we’ve got to tell people who are in sin they are serving the devil and they need to stop. They may call us unloving when we do this, but if they want peace with God, they’ve got to be told the truth.
We’re soon beginning our Vacation Bible School to teach about the unsung heroes of the Bible. Peacemakers, heroes in the greatest sense, are not people who only extend the mercy of God to people. Peacemakers are those who tell others the truth about their sin and urge them to be reconciled to God. Such teaching takes courage, along with mercy and love. A peacemaker is a hero because he/she rescues people from sin and leads them to peace with God.