By Meg Bucher, Crosswalk.com
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9 NIV
What Is a Peacemaker?
We reflect our Father in heaven when we keep the peace. One of the root words of the original Greek word for peacekeepers means both to make and to do. God makes peace. We can’t “do” peace without Him. The very first step in becoming a peacekeeper is upgrading our status to “Children of the One True God.” To produce true peace, we need Peace. Our belief and acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice and forgiveness activates the peace that surpasses all understanding. It doesn’t leave us when we don’t feel peaceful, nor does it leave our situations and relationships when they don’t feel good. It remains. Here are 10 ways to be a peacemaker in your home and community.
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1. A Peacemaker Uses The Mouth to Bless, Not Curse
“Don’t let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Sarcasm rules society’s conversation. One day, my eight-year-old whipped her head around to meet my laughter straight on.
“You think that’s funny!?” she demanded.
“Well, yes …” I replied, not feeling the need to answer to her angstiness, “I think it’s HILARIOUS.” And I continued to laugh.
She crossed her arms, shifted her weight to lend me the view of her back, and closed me off. Close to that time, a sermon boomed into my heart about the scars of sarcasm. My daughter was right. It wasn’t funny. Just because I thought it was didn’t wound her less. I apologized, and started to pray for forgiveness for what I had always considered a strength … humor and sarcasm. Really, it was just a safety net and a coping mechanism. We can be funny without wounding people.
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2. A Peacemaker Knows the Needs of Your Neighbors and Community and Work to Help Meet Those Needs
“Here are the beliefs and the way of life that God our Father accepts as pure and without fault. When widows are in trouble, take care of them. Do the same for children who have no parents. And don’t let the world make you impure.” James 1:26-27 NIV
Like the old saying goes, if we don’t stand for something, we stand for nothing. Are we willing to gracefully bow out of conversations that don’t paint others in a kind light? Can we courageously call others out for injustice when the Holy Spirit stirs us to say something because we’ve seen something? Or, are we guarding our rights to be whatever we want to be, without paying attention to what the people around us and the world are lacking?
There are people within arm’s reach who need our help. The world is full of people who don’t have clean water to drink. So many children are growing up without … anyone. Lay down the personal missions and pursue peace on someone else’s behalf. The local church is a great place to start, as it connects us with many ongoing missions around the world, and right next door.
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3. Be Prepared to Share the Gospel and How It Has Transformed You
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
I was once speaking at our local church, and as I shared a piece of my story and the Gospel truth, my two toddlers clung ALL OVER ME. I simply smiled and patted them on the head, hugging them now and then to let them know I noticed and loved them. A neighbor came up to me afterward and said she could see what a good mother I was by the way I reacted with such patience and love to them even though they were interrupting me.
The way we prepare our hearts shows in the life we live. Our conversations reflect the amount of time we’ve spent with our Heavenly Father. We can’t expect to have the answers to questions when we’re lacking in our preparation.
Scripture is alive and active. It’s the way God prepares our hearts for each day. He goes before us and knows what we need. When we keep in touch with Him daily, we can trust we are ready to walk out into the world and honor Him in all we do and say. It all starts in our hearts.
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4. Study the Fruit You Are Bearing: Is It Good or Bad?
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 NIV
The key to keeping the peace is staying attached to the vine. People will press our patience. We will test our own patience with repetitive mistakes and unsolved problems. We’ll say things we shouldn’t and expect others not to. But the vine always bears good fruit. The difference in a Christ-led heart is the presence of conviction … and our reaction to it.
I apologize to my kids, for which some of the people bordering my life think I’m a little crazy. Well, it is, I suppose. It’s crazy love. I want to be convicted to ask for forgiveness, because that is the source of all love. God’s forgiveness of us leaves us no room not to forgive others. Staying attached to the Vine, the very Savior who sacrificed everything to give me everything, keeps me in check and helps keep the peace.
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5. A Peacemaker Uses Your Blessings to Bless Others
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47 NIV
The early believers obeyed God. They took what they had and helped others in need around them. That’s all He asks us to do. No single person is solely is in charge of making sure everyone has clean water to drink around the world, or curing cancer or solving poverty. There will always be sick, poor, orphaned, widowed, and starving people. Our job is to do what we can to be the extended arms of love of Christ Jesus.
In our communities, the most peaceful scenes consist of volunteers and those blessed by their sacrifice and time. Peace. When we take food to those who are hungry, water to those who are thirsty, company to those in prison, encouragement to those fighting addiction … when we simply do what we can, the peace of Christ prevails. Even if for a moment just long enough for others to see Him through us … which then, in turn, activates the peace in our hearts.
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6. Use Your Gifts and Talents to Pursue Peace
“We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly.” 1 Corinthians 4:12-13a NIV
God calls us to work hard with what we’ve been called to do. Christians talk about being called and having callings a lot. But a call has two sides of the conversation. We are to pursue our God-planted dreams and visions with the gifts and talents that He has blessed us with to complete them. It takes hard work.
Where the Holy Spirit meets our hard work is where the stuff of miracles happen. Things we are unable to accomplish on our own, He accomplishes through us. We give our everything, and He blows it out of the water in faithfulness to finish what He promised to complete through us. How does this keep the peace? It fights entitlement. No man can get in the way of what God will accomplish. When we peaceably work hard with what we’re given, the end product honors Him.
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7. A Peacemaker Leads and Listens to Others with Humility and Patience
“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17 NIV
When we humbly consider criticism from trusted people in our lives, and God Himself, we promote peace. Everything in our humanity will fight against correction and insult. It’s like we were born fighting, like Jacob grabbing the heal of his brother in the womb so he could breathe the first breath of fresh air. We have to fight entitlement, and patiently wait for the peaceful path to become evident.
Waiting for this path doesn’t mean doing the right thing won’t ever be difficult, or involve a fight. Both will be true, at times. Following Christ takes endurance and perseverance, but all these things produce peace when we walk through trials and hardships gracefully. Often, when we strive to live a life in line with God’s Word and Christ’s example, we will find ourselves leading the way, even in some seemingly small way.
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8. A Peacemaker Approaches Everyone You Meet with Empathy and Compassion
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been giving to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 NIV
We are put on earth to honor God and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we strive to keep the peace, in all areas of our lives, it’s reflected in the one life we have to live. It’s important to share the Gospel with people, verbally and literally by how we live our daily lives. Words fall flat if we’re unable to live out what we talk about.
Sharing our faith doesn’t come easy, but it should come peaceably. We’re not meant to argue or accuse, or loft our level of intelligence over anyone else’s. Sharing the Gospel is coming alongside others peacefully, knowing we’re all going through the same battering ram in this world. When we approach others with the compassion and empathy that Jesus did, the conviction of curiosity will follow close behind. We’re not solely responsible for anyone’s salvation, but we’re made to crave the conversation.
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9. Find the Broken Thing in Your Community that Breaks Your Heart, and Work Toward Fixing It
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 NIV
The creativity of the One True God is in us. We are all individually crafted and designed with specific purposes in mind. This is why following the ways of the world is dangerous. We lose the unique mark of our Maker when we douse it with conformity. There is something in us that isn’t like anyone else. Find it and cherish it. Grow it, love it, and water it with the words of the One who formed all of us so specifically. When we are operating in the individuality we were born to flow in, our peace is palpable. He is the source of our peace. Sharing our gifts and talents with the world and to help others is a way to spread peace around our homes and our communities.
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10. Work Diligently, Flee Laziness and Avoid Drama
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the week, be patient with everyone.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV
Andy Stanley once preached that if we want to avoid drama we should get busy doing important things. Drama is the opposite of peace. When we are busy doing things to help others, the result is peace and purpose. Sitting idly is talked about a lot in the Bible.
When we’re bored, we want to reach for the remote and binge watch a series. But who could we be helping, instead? Not that it’s bad to relax and watch a season now and then, but the peace in our hearts and the peace we are able to be a part of when we’re out in the world helping the real and actual people with real and actual problems in our lives surpasses all understanding.
“Megs” writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. She stepped out of her comfort zone, and her Marketing career, to obey God’s call to stay home and be “Mom” in 2011. From that step of obedience her blog, Sunny&80, was born, a way to retain the funny everyday moments of motherhood. Meg is also a freelance writer and author of “Friends with Everyone.” She loves leading her Monday morning Bible study, being a dance mom, distance running and photography. Meg resides in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and Golden-Doodle … all avid Cleveland Browns fans.
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