Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blessed are the Peacemakers

My resolution for July is to become more of a peacemaker. The actual verse from the Beatitudes is Matthew 5:9, which reads:

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." I will focus on the first part (the characteristic) in this post and the second part (the reward) in another one.

It is interesting as I begin to focus on this attribute of perfection to point out that the term "peacemaker" is found only twice in our entire scriptural canon - in the two "Sermons on the Mount" we have recorded in Matthew and 3 Nephi. There are 366 instances of "peace", and some of the more instructive ones for this particular resolution include:

Isaiah 9:6 - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

(It is fascinating that this name - "Prince of Peace" - is the last title listed in a group of names that appears to be in ascending order of importance. Again, I find that fascinating, and I will have to think about that some more.)

Mark 4:39 - "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."

I really like the way that peace in this verse is followed by a command to be "still" - and that the result is described as "a great calm".

Revelations 12:18 - "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."

This verse is intriguing, because it appears to grant that there are some situations where it is not possible to live peaceably with others, but that we should strive to do so "as much as lieth in (us)".

As I begin this month's focus, I immediately think of two places where I need to work on becoming more of a peacemaker: at home, with my wife and children, and on the blogs I frequent. I also am struck by something as I think of this attribute in relation to those that come before it in the Beatitudes. It is worth considering.

To be a peacemaker requires me to step outside of my own life, if you will, and insert myself between others. Of course, part of "making peace" is establishing peace within one's own soul (reaching an internal stillness and a calmness), but to become a "perfect" peacemaker ("complete, whole, fully developed") requires me to step out of myself and mediate peace among and between the non-peaceful. It requires me to step out of a comfort zone and risk rejection by those whom I am trying to help. It means pointing out instances of arguing and fighting and bickering - and the natural man is not prone to enjoy that type of effort, even when done in meekness and mercy.

This means it will be CRITICAL in any effort to be a peacemaker for me to have internalized my earlier efforts to be more meek and more merciful, and it highlights the fact that the Beatitudes were structured on a progressively ascending scale - that one really does lead to the next, which leads to the next, which leads to perfection (completeness, wholeness, full development).

4 comments:

Ellen said...

A friend told me her main peacemaking tool is based on something she learned recently: arguments are usually 95% churning and 5% resolution. The tool is to flip that ratio.

The problem isn't usually particularly complex. It's resolving that takes effort because it can involve changes we don't want to make.

Somehow that makes the effort of peacemaking seem more proactive rather than a temporary intervention.

adam said...

Practicing not getting defensive with others (especially your spouse) is a great way to work on this.

Papa D said...

I really like that equation and concept, Ellen. I'll have to think about it and incorporate it into my next post this month.

Jami said...

I think I'll join you in trying to hone my peacemaking skills this month, Ray. While the blog world offers plenty of opportunities for practice, I don't have to look that far. Home is where I feel comfortable just saying it like I see it. It's a habit the whole family shares. Not too conducive to peace.