Summary: Seventh of the Eight Milestones on the Journey of the Fruitful Followers.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
So far we have been the fruit of Jesus Christ—the Peacemaker. He has brought peace between God and us, and he has taught us to live in peace with one another by loving one another. However, at this stage, we are no longer satisfied with our own peace with God and others; we want to become peacemakers—to bring peace between people and God, and among people, just as Christ did it for us. In other words, we want to reproduce and bear fruit.
There is a popular term floating around the self-development community called “significant life.” In the past half a century, a lot of Americans have found their way to a successful life, but they found out that success doesn’t bring them ultimate satisfaction. So they started to look for something beyond success and they called it a “significant life,” a life that gives them true satisfaction that their money, status, possessions, and prosperity can not give.
Many leadership gurus have tried to define “significant life.” John Maxwell said that a successful life is when you develop yourself to become a leader, and a significant life is when you help other people to become leaders. In other words, success is when you improve yourself to become successful and significance is when you help others to become successful. Rick Warren, on the other hand, defines significant life as the purpose-driven life.
However, I believe if Jesus were here with us today, he would have defined significant life as a “fruitful life” because throughout his teaching, he repeatedly asked us to bear fruit. Even his last word on earth, known as the Great Commission, talked about reproduction, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Mat. 28:19-20)
To make disciples is to be a peacemaker because it involves two peacemaking activities. The first is to help people make peace with God because Jesus asked us to baptize them, which is to bring them to reconciliation with God. The second is to help them make peace with one another by teaching them what Christ has commanded us. What did he command us? We have talked about it in the previous blessing. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Therefore, it is about peacemaking among people.
Ultimately, it is all about relationships, to help people build a healthy relationship with God and with one another. In fact, we are challenged by Jesus to bring the entire world, “all nations,” in to healthy relationships. That’s what Jesus meant by fruitfulness.
Since Jesus is the Son of God and he is the Peacemaker, when we become peacemakers, we are living the life of Christ, and therefore we are called God’s children. God is no longer a religious God, but our Parent. That’s the ultimate relationship!
1 – Make Peace a Pure Heart
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18
A friend of mine told me how he used to be a social justice activist. Social justice is a form of peacemaking; it begins with the love for the poor and oppressed, liberating them, and striving for a society that loving one another becomes a reality. One day he woke up from his dream realizing that while his intentions were good, his motives were flawed. He had been fighting for justice with much anger in his heart and ended up “fighting for justice with injustice.”
So my friend left his social justice movement and sought to develop his spiritual life. Now he is teaching spiritual formation, and warning people not to enter social justice movement without a fully developed spiritual maturity. To be a peacemaker is to be in the life-changing business. We can’t change lives unless our lives are changed.
When we fight for justice with an impure heart, we would end up in a ‘revolution.’ ‘Revolution’ means revolving or rotating, even though it also means social change. As a result, instead of changing the society for better, we end up rotating seats for a different round of oppression. Communist movements in many countries started out as a revolution for social justice and they are good instances of rotating seats for a different form of oppression.
In the context of the above scripture, Paul said, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” The term “in Christ” is of the same concept as in the blessing of “the pure in heart,” and Jesus’ calls us into this kind of relationship by inviting us to “abide in” him.