Peacemakers are those that God has first made peace with. Paul describes the peace God made for us in Colossians 1:19-22,
"For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him."
God made peace with us in Jesus Christ. On the cross Jesus took away our sin so that God could be at peace with us. Now that we have peace with God we are to seek to make peace with other people. This means a number of things:
First, we put an end to conflict by refusing to postpone apologies or restitution.
Second, we refuse to seek revenge.
Third, we humbly serve one another even those that have offended us.
Fourth, we stop promoting ourselves.
Fifth, we stop insisting on our rights.
Sixth, we stop grasping for recognition.
Of course, not everyone will cooperate with our attempts at peacemaking. There will be people that refuse to listen to us, that refuse to accept our apologies, that refuse to allow us to serve them, etc. We are not responsible for the way in which people respond to our peacemaking. We need to understand this because we will be rejected from time to time in our efforts. We may become discouraged because they did not respond to us. However, God only asks us to do our part in peacemaking. It is not our responsibility how others react to this. Paul puts this truth clearly in Romans 12:16-18,
"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."
One of the barriers to living peaceably with all is our own thought processes and emotions. We often fail to control our interpretations of others and our own emotions. This can lead to conflict between others. Daniel Doriani puts it nicely. I will quote him at leangth,
"Peacemaking also has internal, subjective aspects. Insecurities and worries destroy peace. Discontentment disrupts peace. Envy disrupts peace. When we try to read other people’s thoughts, it disrupts peace. The pastor of a healthy, small-town church recently learned that lesson afresh. The church and the pastor loved and admired each other, but there was some resistance when he lengthen the morning worship by fifteen minutes. No one got upset, he said, but then he began the story of one man:
Church used to end at 10:30; now it goes to 10:45. One man sits near the back, each week, he stands up at precisely 10:30, straightens his jacket and pants, and walks out. He never said anything, but I could feel his displeasure over the longer services. Indeed, sometimes I had to labor to stifle my anger at the weekly display. Then one week, I changed the order of worship and put the sermon first. The man still left at 10:30, but later that day his wife called me.
“Pastor,” she said, “you can’t imagine how happy my husband was today. You see, he has to report to work at 10:45 on Sundays. He waits until the last possible minute each week, but it grieves him that he can never stay until the end of your message. Today he heard your whole sermon and he is so pleased. I just had to tell you.”
Guessing other people’s motives is a prime way to subvert our peace, especially since, by some perverse impulse, we tend to make the most negative, self-damaging guesses.
If we are going to reflect the peacemaking character of God, we must learn to control our inner life. We must have a charitable interpretation of others actions. We do not always know all the facts. Like the pastor in this example, this can cause us to become upset and offended. It can lead us to mistreat others and to disrupt peace. As Kingdom members, we are to be peacemakers and peacemaking begins in your heart. We need to be mindful that we do not always have the facts. We need to be mindful that we should interpret things charitably. If we do not, we will cause conflict and fail to manifest a peacemaking quality.