There are two attitudes, two primary mindsets that exist in the world when it comes to living in peace with the people around us. They are both effective in many ways, but I suggest that only one of these mindsets was the one Jesus was talking about when he talked about peacemaking. We will call these two approaches the peacemaker and the peacekeeper.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. -Matthew 5:9
Before we explore the differences between these two attitudes, we will look at the similarities between them. As Romans 12:18 states, it is a goal to live at peace with the people around us, and both these attitudes further that cause immensely. Many people live without caring about creating or maintaining peace at all. We can honor the peacekeeper while striving to transcend that mindset as peacemakers on the earth.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. -Romans 12:18
Despite the similarities, there are many differences in these two approaches to to peace.
These approaches look the most different when you consider them in the light of eternity. Peacekeepers use threats of violence, or the presence of physical power, to maintain peace. But peacemakers take aim at the heart of the problem: the hearts of people, starting with themselves.
There is a difference between unity and coexistence. To maintain a form of peace, peacekeepers will silence divergent opinions. But people who truly carry an overflowing peace in their hearts, shine bright:
“And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” -Mark 9:47-50
Salt is a preservative, but in the case of peacemaking, I like to think of it more as a festive flavor. As we shine with a humble holiness, we demonstrate that one thing is available to all of us, if we are bold enough to believe it: peace with God. As we unify around this truth, we discover that we have peace with each other as well.
A lot of people treat their time in the Word as an item on their to–do list that needs to be checked off. “I gotta get to the next chapter so I can be caught up on my Bible reading plan,” some might hurriedly mutter to themselves. What causes us to be preoccupied with simply finishing our Bible Reading Plan, and how can we better approach the subject of reading the Word?
Jesus warned the Jews in His day, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (Jn. 5:39) The Word is what displays God’s character and nature so that we are driven to talking with, and encountering God.
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