“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. (Matthew 5:9; The Message)
About a year ago I got new glasses.
When the nurse gave me the new frames, and I put them on, I was surprised at how well I could see! It was only then that I realized how cloudy my vision had gotten. At first, it was hard to imagine that my eyesight had changed so much. It was crazy to think that before the new glasses, my vision was cloudy at best.
The Greek word used for peacemakers means something like “doers of peace.” Peace—this spirit of not competing or fighting with one another—whether that be among nations, among siblings, or among church members—is something we “do” rather than “possess.”
Scholar Douglas R. A. Hare reminds us that being a peacemaker does not mean one lives in peace or dwells in the fruits of peace, but rather means that one is about “the hard work of reconciling hostile individuals, families, groups, and nations.” There is a difference between those who are peacemakers and those who are peacekeepers. Keeping the peace is keeping everyone happy. Keeping the peace is walking on eggshells, being careful not to offend anyone. Peacekeeping is not speaking up and standing up for what you believe it.
Peacemaking, however, is hard work.
It is the work of standing up for what is right. It is the work of being courageous and bold to stand up and speak for the voiceless. Peacemaking is about truth-speaking for the sake of reconciliation.
But, cloudy vision prevents us from being peacemakers. We must learn to look at others through the eyes of God. This is the lesson which Bruce in the comedy Bruce Almighty (2003) learns. In order to make peace with his girlfriend Grace, he has to learn to look at her through the eyes of God. Instead of building a wall between himself and Grace, Bruce is able to build a bridge where reconciliation could be possible.
Martin Luther King, Jr. longed for a day when children of all colors would join hands—a day when we look at each other through the eyes of God and see each other as members of the same family. And through that vision, we will be willing to do the hard work of peacemaking.
German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a sermon said, “The forgiveness of sins still remains the sole ground of all peace.” Forgiveness is hard work. How is forgiveness needed to make peace in your life?