Summary: Asks the question: are you a peacekeeper or a peacemaker?
Matt 5.9 "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God."
Intro video: Virtual Family
Isn’t that a great invention!
Many people are like that family. The words they say might sound nice, but under the surface, they’re really not happy. They just don’t want to have to deal with the fall out. They’re peacekeepers rather than peacemakers. They want to keep the peace, but they don’t really want to make peace!
But Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." So what’s the difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker? Which are you?
Sometimes I think it’s a lot easier dealing with unbelievers than with Christians. Unbelievers often don’t mind telling you where you stand because they don’t have this conception that they have to be nice. Christians know we’re mean to be nice and get on, but we’re not always exactly sure how to do that in a real way.
A. PEACEKEEPERS ACT OF DUTY
Not that I think we’re all brimming with subterranean conflict, but we can settle for being peacekeepers rather than peacemakers. We’re nice out of duty, because we’re meant to be, not because we really want to be (sometimes).
The problem is, when you’re doing things out of duty, you never really get beyond the basics of what you have to do. You don’t go that extra mile and take that extra risk that peacemaking often calls for. A superficial peace is kept. But the deeper peace, the shalom, is never really reached.
B. PEACEMAKERS ACT OUT OF LOVE
Because that’s what we’re aiming for when we aim for peace. Biblical peace isn’t the absence of conflict, it’s a wholeness, a completeness, a harmony of relationship.
So to that end, peacemakers act out of love. They’re seek to more than a superficial peace and to the deeper shalom that can only come when people are truly committed to something out of love, not out of law.
Love is precisely what sent Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to the cross. He didn’t go out of some sense of duty. He went out of a complete commitment to loving us.
Peacemakers act out of love.
Being a peacemaker means, by definition, you’re going to find yourself in areas of conflict. Making peace implies that there is an absence of peace in a situation. In one sense peacemakers go looking for trouble! Or it means you’re committed to working through a conflict situation you find yourself in.
Problem is, most of us don’t really like conflict or confrontation? We try to avoid it. And we avoid it in all kinds of ways.
A. PEACEKEEPERS TRY TO STOP CONFLICT
ILL: I have to admit, that when Andrea and I disagree over something… just hypothetically, because we never disagree of course!… I tend to just shut down and walk away because I just know the argument… discussion… won’t go anywhere because she just won’t see reason. Because, of course, I’m right. Or at least I would be if that ever happened.
I’d rather keep the peace than work through the issue and make peace. Which is all peacekeepers do - try to stop conflict.
ILL: The UN has just approved a peace keeping mission to the Darfur region of Sundan. Darfur is a terrible humanitarian crisis with drought, famine and war and desperately needs intervention. As important as it is the peacekeepers are basically there to keep warring parties apart and hopefully protect innocent civilians. But they won’t bring a peaceful resolution to the region, it’s not their role.
B. PEACEMAKERS TRY TO BRING RECONCILIATION
But that’s not what peace is. That’s just a truce. General McArthur said "A truce just says you don’t shoot for awhile. Peace comes when the truth is known, the issue is settled, & the parties embrace each other."
Peacemakers don’t just try to stop conflict. They’re doing something far more meaningful, something healing and restoring. They try to bring about reconciliation and relationship, even if it means going through the conflict.
ILL: I had friends who once got into a conflict situation. One was a single guy who had taken the others, a couple, out one evening. But the evening went so late that it put them and their babysitter out. They had quite a heated but honest discussion, and do you know what? Their friendship grew! That couple could have just avoided the whole thing, but they confronted the truth in love and a deeper relationship resulted.
The cross was the greatest act of violence and conflict possible. In fact, much of Jesus ministry involved conflict and confrontation. He wasn’t afraid of it because he was committed in love to working through that if need be to bring reconciliation.
Peacemakers don’t try to stop conflict, they work for reconciliation.