“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, NIV). This the seventh beatitude that Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount.
Because Jesus pronounced “peacemakers” as blessed people, Christians should wholeheartedly embrace this status. But we must not be pollyannish about it, afraid to face hard truths. To be a peacemaker one must have clear vision of and full understanding about the discord (an argument, a fight, or a war) needing a peaceful solution. This discord or strife may be directed toward oneself or someone else.
It appears as if there is no part of the world not inundated with hateful acts and words, wars, and rumors of wars. Since I live in America, this blog will center on the dire situation the United States finds herself in and what being a peacemaker might mean here.
May I please share with you some hard truths that may be unpleasant to read but will help us understand the dynamics of being a 21st Century Christian peacemaker? Are you nodding your head yes? Great. Let’s begin our discussion with who causes conflicts with hateful acts and words, and why.
Perpetrators of Hateful Acts
Acts of hatred permeates America today. One reported reason is that those who boldly commit hateful acts feel that their livelihood or way of life is threatened by demographic changes and are also motivated by fear, ignorance, or anger. Often, the targets of their hatred are based on religion, disability, and the Jewish, African-American, and LGBTQ communities. Stay with me. Keep your mind open as I give you more information.
Another possible reason for today’s unprecedented acts of violence and hatred is that even though the perpetrators often carry bibles, carry Jesus flags, and proudly profess to be Christians, their hearts might not have really been regenerated and their Savior is not biblical Jesus. While you consider these two reasons, allow me to describe some of these hateful acts. Please keep reading.
Description of Hateful Acts
Acts of hatred can be subtle or bold. Here is a short list to give you an idea of hatred’s range:
- Religion – 1. In December 2020, Black Lives Matter banners hanging in front of the United Methodist Church and Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington D. C. were taken down and burned. One religious leader likened this act to a cross burning. 2. “Jewish people were the victims in more than half of the 428 hate crimes in New York City last year, with many of the crimes committed in heavily Orthodox neighborhoods, according to the Police Department.” (www.nytimes.com).
- Asian Americans – In 2021, There’s been a recent spike in crime against Asian Americans, especially elderly residents, with viral videos showing them being senselessly shoved to the ground or violently robbed. One senior has died from such an attack. These attacks are reportedly caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic being called the China-flu.
- Institutional Racism – Institutional racism uses laws or policies to establish grave deficits in how black and brown people live: “the quality of the education they receive, their income, types of food they have access to, exposure to pollutants, whether they have access to clean air, clean water or adequate medical treatment, and the types of interactions they have with the criminal justice system.” (fpg.unc.edu).
Effects of Hatred on Victims
Stay with me as I share with you the effects on the victims. Victims of institutional racism and/or specific acts of hatred often experience post-traumatic stress, safety concerns, depression, anxiety, anger, psychological distress, and lower self-esteem. Although they did nothing to provoke hatred, victims are accused of being lazy, ignorant, and worthless to society. But God has a plan.
Heavenly Solution to Earthly Hatred
I propose to you that the effectual peace that America so desperately needs today begins with God’s plan to combat this present evil. God has true peacemakers in the earth. How does one become a peacemaker that God would approve and use to combat todays’ climate of hate? Please consider what I call the journey to becoming a peacemaker that God can bless:
- Jesus died to reconcile humanity back to God (peace between God and man). Receiving Jesus as Savior begins our transformation to peacekeepers (Romans 10:9-10). With salvation, we obtain personal peace with God.
- After being personally reconciled with God, receive the peace of Jesus. He said, “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]” (John 14:27), Amplified Bible). Hold on to your personal peace, no matter what.
- Through the ministry of reconciliation help bring peace between man and God by preaching the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16).
- Help bring peace between man and man (Ephesians 4:1-3) This may be done through social services, helping make and enforce laws of equality, speaking out against injustice, being kind to strangers, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and embracing diversity.
- Finally, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NIV).
Once we purposely and consistently live as peacemakers for God, we will be called the children of God. “The emphasis is on the word called. We are sons to start with–we could not enter into the Father’s plans if we were not;” (www.preceptaustin.org), but we shall be recognized as true children of God. As peacekeepers we share God’s passion for peace and reconciliation, we break down walls between people, and we reflect the character of our Heavenly Father.
Remember, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke.
Are you a peacemaker? Do you have peace with God? Do you seek to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? Are you sharing the gospel of peace with others? If so, you will be called a child of God. www.preceptaustin.org Join the conversation.
Dr. Dorothy J. Haire
Author & Blogger
Both church planter and pastor of Bread of Life Christian Church for the last 18 years, Dr. Haire is a beloved mother and successful author. Empowered to deliver the word of God to His people, Dr. Haire uses her digital platform to educate and develop Christian communities that are rooted in the word of Christ.