Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
This is one of my favorite Bible verses. Perhaps because I am someone who sometimes struggles internally with feelings of anger and anxiety, the idea of being a peacemaker is very appealing. I don’t know that I’ve ever been very successful at fomenting peace, but it’s the Beatitude I most resonate with.
The word for peacemakers, eirenopoioi, means peace workers. It also means those who are sent as envoys of peace. Jesus is saying that those who actively work for peace are blessed. It’s interesting to note that this word only appears in the plural – it is communities, nations – groups of people – that actively work for peace that are filled with God’s Spirit.
The word translated called means to proclaim in a loud voice, to bestow a title upon someone. This is a public proclamation – you are the offspring of God! You are a follower of God!
On the other hand, we are not peacemakers when we:
- ‘other’ those who are a different race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, or chronological age;
- engage in online verbal skirmishes to prove we are ‘right’;
- take intransigent stands about politics and religion;
- post personal insults about those with whom we disagree – both public figures and private citizens.
These examples leap to mind as Americans battle it out to determine who will be our next president. Supporters of the three septuagenarians still in the race have been brutal. Tribes are forming around the two most extreme candidates, and those gangs are attacking each other and the man in the middle. Insults, misconceptions, propaganda, and verbal violence abound.
Bottom line: the ends do not justify the means. We will not be called children of God, no matter how righteous we believe our cause, if we are not actively working as envoys of peace.
Divinely blessed is your group when you are actively working for peace, for you shall be publicly proclaimed as children of the one who holds and sustains All.