Sometimes it can be hard to hear God’s voice, but other times, I hear Him loud and clear. Do you ever feel like God is really trying to get you to understand something? Maybe there’s been a time when you have heard the same message from different people in completely different places within a short amount of time. That’s been happening to me recently. God has really been working on my heart and teaching me what it means to cultivate peace. There have been several instances in the past few weeks where the Lord has brought the topic of peace to my attention. The first was through a morning devotional, the second was through a conversation that took place in a staff meeting, and the third was through a book that I am reading with the ladies in my Life Group (it’s called Mama Bear Apologetics, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has kids in their life). I have also been involved in many small conversations here and there that have been about peace. In our world today, a lack of peace is so evident, and the Lord has really been laying on my heart how I can play a role in creating a peaceful environment.
One concept that has come up frequently – both in conversations and in the book I am reading – is the idea of being a “Peacemaker” versus a “Peacekeeper”. Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the sons of God.” Did you catch that? The Bible doesn’t say “Blessed are the peacekeepers”. It says that those who actually make peace will be blessed. The Lord has been teaching me that there is a big difference in making peace and just keeping it.
I am a people-pleaser. I want people to like me. I want to make everyone happy and I really want to get along with everyone. You might be like me – I think there are a lot of us out there who desire to be friends with and please everyone. Because of this, I have a tendency to be a peacekeeper instead of a peacemaker. I don’t want to rock the boat. I don’t want to have to have a conversation that could be uncomfortable. If someone upsets me, my first response is to internalize my feelings and not talk to them about it. If I wait long enough, I should get over it, right? I keep the peace by pretending that everything is okay, even if it’s not. While things might look peaceful on the surface, I’m not truly at peace. This is not how God wants me to live and it isn’t how He wants you to live either. He wants us to be at peace with Him, with ourselves, and with one another. To do this, we have to be peacemakers.
Being a true peacemaker means that sometimes you have to have the difficult conversation. Sometimes you have to tell someone that what they said or did was not okay. You might have to disturb that false layer of peace in order to make real, Christlike peace. We have to understand that peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace happens when conflict is resolved. Clarity brings peace. Conflicts are going to exist, and when they arise, it is our job to pursue resolution. This is how we make peace rather than just keep it. James 3:18 says, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.” This verse has been on my heart and mind often the past few weeks. Those who cultivate peace will be made righteous. True peace doesn’t come by accident. It must be intentionally prepared and maintained.
I do realize that sometimes there are situations where another person might be unwilling to live at peace with you. Romans 12:18 tells us, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This means that I need to do everything in my power to create peace in my relationships. I have to do my part, but I can’t control someone else’s response. God calls me to take care of my actions and trust that He’s got the rest.
Friends, I want to challenge you to be a peacemaker today. If there is someone that you need to talk to, have that conversation. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger (Eph. 4:16). Be more than a peacekeeper; Be a peacemaker. Do your part to cultivate peace. I realize this is much easier said than done, but when you make the choice to not let conflict linger in your heart, you will experience the peace that only God can give. It’s worth it and it is what believers are called to do.