“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, “for they will be called children of God.” When I was reading this verse recently, I realized that the specific word Jesus used—peacemaker—has enormous implications. By default, I always assume that I’m a peacemaker. I don’t commit crimes or cause trouble or anything like that. But that doesn’t make me a peacemaker—that makes me a peacekeeper.
There are many times where I’m frustrated with a situation and I complain about it. After all, it’s always someone else’s job to fix it, right? I often feel like the youngest, not-as-educated, the mostly-here-by-accident person. It would be easy to go along with the motions, riding out the bumps, always expecting someone more qualified than me to fix the problems.
A peacekeeper is someone who goes through life not causing trouble but not really making any positive change either. A peacemaker, however, is someone who actively looks to bring light to the darkness.
It doesn’t matter what your position or authority is, you have the ability (and the responsibility) as a Jesus-follower to not simply be a person who doesn’t cause trouble, but someone who changes the culture of your environment.
If your work environment is toxic, it’s your responsibility not only to not participate in the toxicity, but to actively work to make it a better place. Instead of complaining about your friends not wanting to hang out with you, it’s your responsibility to actively work to be a better friend to them.
The condition that makes this more difficult—and the reason why we often slip into apathy and peacekeeping over peacemaking—is that we can’t always see the results of our peacemaking efforts. Sometimes things don’t change and the situation still goes unsolved. Was all that work for nothing?
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. — Matthew 5:9 MSG
Jesus didn’t say that you would be blessed if you fixed everything. He said you would be blessed when you show people how to cooperate. It doesn’t say that you’re only blessed if you resolve everything.
No matter how difficult it is, we have a responsibility as followers of Jesus to make the situations around us better—not simply by keeping the peace and not causing trouble, but by actively working to bring light where there’s darkness.