How do you resolve conflicts? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” I don’t know about you, but I have grown so tired of social media. I’ll be more specific; I am tired of Facebook. Facebook has become a place to throw ideological grenades with no thought as to what may happen. Friends and family will post, sometimes, inflammatory posts and not want to engage afterward. Over the last year or so I have seen it get so much worse and my Christian friends are often times worse than my non-Christian friends. What can we do?
When Jesus gives one of his most famous sermons you have to understand something. What Jesus is sharing is revolutionary and, in some instances, downright scandalous! This was at the beginning of his earthly ministry and Jesus was definitely making a name for himself. This portion of Scripture is known as the “Beatitudes.” Jesus had been traveling all throughout Galilee teaching and healing. Word of this spread all through the area even to Syria and beyond the Jordan and crowds have gathered.
Jesus goes through the foundations of Hebraic Law and contrasts the understanding of the day with His own take on things. Many of the topics Jesus would teach on would begin with, “you have heard it said … But I tell you …” I want to focus on this idea of peacemaking and dispel some myths. First, let’s define a term. Blessed is the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. Peacemaking is NOT the absence of conflict. Peace in the Bible is never to be confused with pacifism. Peace is not avoiding strife. Peace is not appeasing parties. We must remember that just glossing over problems, acting as if everything is alright when it is not is not being a peacemaker.
Let’s be honest, peacemaking can be messy and wrenching work. It takes time and emotional energy. Jesus is our example of a peacemaker; establishing healing relationships of peace with the Father and with each other. We will fail, and we will get bruised, but we are to love one another.
Next time you are checking your newsfeed and find yourself confronted with a post that bothers or upsets you think of this acronym: ENATA. So often I find myself wanting to simply react and often not in the most edifying manner. Before you respond, ask yourself is what you want to say Effective, Necessary, Accurate, Timely, and Appropriate? If you cannot answer yes to these, perhaps you should just listen and not add to the noise and vitriol. Remember, God is the God of Peace (Heb.13:20) and Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) when we are peacemakers, we are partaking of God’s nature.