PeaceMAKERS, not peaceKEEPERS. As I pondered this at 4:30 this morning, I thought, "Peacemakers. PeaceMAKERS. MAKER. What does a maker do?" A maker creates. And, what happens when you create things? Unless you're God, chances are, you make a mess. You get glue on your fingers. You get glitter on your forehead and in your hair. You have fabric scraps laying on the floor where you cut away undesired pieces. You stick yourself with a pin or burn yourself on the glue gun, and it hurts. Scraps of paper lay about. You get flour on your apron or chin. Paint splatters on your clothes. Creating makes a mess....a temporary mess. It may be a small project and small mess. Or, it maybe a huge project and a huge mess.
Peacemaking. But, everyone says, "Oh, we aren't supposed to stir up trouble. We don't want to hurt anyone. We're just supposed to love." That's peacekeeping. Make everyone happy. Putting out fires, so that someone is not upset. What happens when we run around trying to put out all the fires, all the hot spots? They just keep popping up if we don't get to the source of the problem. Peacemaking.
When there is a lack a peace, it usually means someone has crossed a boundary. Someone probably sinned against someone else. Is it healthy to just ignore that and smooth over so no one is upset and KEEP the peace? No. It isn't healthy for anyone involved, and in fact, causes more dissension (hot spots). The only way to MAKE peace is to pursue it, to lay the offense out in the open, gently, not in anger. If someone is continually crossing a line (sin), in order for there to be true peace, they must be gently restored and problems must be addressed.
Hebrews 12:14 says, " Pursue peace with all men..." But, look at it in context. As I looked at the verses prior, I kept seeing the words, "therefore" and "but", so I kept backing up. God has a lot to say. Is it coincidence that "pursue peace with all men" follows this? Maybe, but I'm having a hard time accepting that. Look at what it says, starting with verse 4~
"You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM.
FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."
I don't know about you, but that sounds messy to me!
"It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. .... For they (earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;"
God disciplines us. Parents should discipline their children. We are called to discipline ourselves. We are called to discipline others (see also Galatians 6:1, 1 Thess. 5:14, 2 Thess. 2:14-15, 1 Cor. 5:11, etc.) Without discipline there can be no peace. Even if only one person in a group is undisciplined, there is a lack of peace...sometimes chaos...whether that is a church, a family, a classroom, etc. Pursuing peace, being a peaceMAKER, means pursuing discipline within that group. When that happens, there might just be a mess. If it's smaller infractions, and the person (whether ourselves or others) has a teachable spirit, then it might just be a small clean up. The problem is addressed, repentance made, forgiveness imparted. A little glue on the hands, and we just wash it right off. If, however, there is an unteachable spirit, selfishness, pride, or an overly sensitive person, the mess is going to be bigger, and the clean up will take longer. Does it mean we avoid it? Does it mean it is unBiblical just because it makes a mess. Not at all. Peacemaking is not fun. Go look at Matthew 5:1-14. "Blessed are the peacemakers" is lumped right in there with "poor in spirit", "those who mourn", "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness", "those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness". Peacemaking is hard, which is why it is so blessed.
Look at verse 11 again. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Discipline, though it seems sorrowful, yields peaceful fruit, if the person is wiling to be trained by it. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison," In context this is talking about our outer man decaying, but it applies here as well. See, peacemaking isn't just for those who are suffering the consequences of an undisciplined person. It is even more important for that person. It "is for our good, so that we may share in His holiness", it yields fruit, and it produces "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison". When you see it like that, why on earth would we want to run from it?! That undisciplined person will never find their own peace and joy if someone doesn't point them toward Godly behavior and repentance. Their relationships can never be whole and authentic. If we love the unruly, undisciplined person that God has placed directly in our path (or if we need that correction ourselves), then we will embrace the opportunity to gently, but firmly, hold them accountable and point them to God's peace, which comes through discipline.
What happens if God calls you to be a peacemaker in a situation, but no matter how much prayer and love you attempt to pour into that person, they rebel? It may be the time that you have to "shake the dust from your sandals", or "not even to eat with such a one". This may seem harsh, but the goal is restoration. Take it to the Lord in prayer as to what must happen in that situation, but whatever the response, do not allow that person to carry on in your life without accountability. Continue to pursue peace. Continue to be a peacemaker. For that person, see what Proverbs 15:10 has to say. "Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die." The person who rejects discipline will die a spiritual death. If saved, he will not lose his salvation, but he will lose his fellowship with God, and the blessings God wants to give. He will lose peace and unity with others.
In contrast, if that person is willing to hear God's voice, and submit to His discipline, then as the mess is all cleared away, we are left with a beautiful masterpiece that God Himself has used us to create, and it is worth all the pain. ...... an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."