Today’s chapter: Matthew 5
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘hippie’? You probably picture someone with long hair wearing a bandana, bell-bottom jeans, and a tie-dyed T-shirt. He probably drives a small van or VW bug covered in bright colors and slogans like “Flower Power” and “Make Love, Not War.” With one hand he’s making the “peace” sign. We’ll assume that’s a Marlboro cigarette in the other hand…
Hippies are known for loving peace. They are generally philosophically opposed to war. But even though they’re in favor of peace, they’re not what Jesus has in mind when he talks about peacemakers.
Jesus didn’t say blessed are the peace lovers or the peace keepers. He said it is the peacemakers who are blessed and will be called sons of God. I love being around peacemakers because they are so dependable. They make organizations and people better. Peace lovers, however, do incredible amounts of damage.
Peace lovers are people who avoid conflict in an effort to keep the “peace.” Instead of working through issues, they work around them and try to ignore them. Rather than standing up for what’s right or confronting something that is wrong, peace lovers prefer to not talk about anything unpleasant or that might cause a disagreement. Their primary goal is for everyone to get along, and especially to get along with and like them. Peace lovers mistakenly think peace is an absence of conflict.
Peacemakers, on the other hand, are willing to confront issues. They’re tactful and respectful, but they know it’s unwise to ignore hidden tensions and pretend like everything is okay. Peacemakers embrace conflict, not because they’re psychotic, but because they know it is the only way to real peace.
I’ve seen well-meaning peace lovers destroy families, churches, and companies because they stayed silent in situations that desperately needed someone to speak up. I’ve also seen spiritually mature peacemakers work through conflict and achieve real peace in situations where most people thought it wasn’t possible.
I’ve got three sons and they all look a little bit like me. Fortunately, they look like their mother, too. I suppose that’s one of the ways they are blessed. Regardless, there is definitely a family resemblance.
Jesus said that when we take on the difficult role of being peacemakers, there is also a family resemblance. We’re called sons of God because we look a bit more like our Father than we did before. That’s a blessing I definitely want.
Do you tend to avoid conflict? Real peace isn’t an absence of disagreements, but the result of working through them. Prayerfully embrace your next conflict as an opportunity to achieve peace. Listen well and trust God.