Take some time to think, pray and study about how you can be a peacemaker in your home, your church and in your community. If the world ever needed peacemakers, it is now.

October 31, 2023

Let There Be Peace

Early in His ministry, Jesus one day found himself on a hillside surrounded by a large crowd. There He preached his longest recorded teaching, The Sermon on the Mount.

The sermon begins with the Beatitudes, the blessings. Those eight blessings define values that Jesus holds up as core to His body of teaching. Number seven in the list is: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). 

What does that mean for Christians in a world gone crazy with stress, conflict and self-centered demands? 

I was on an airplane traveling on a long flight and I got up to stretch my legs. Soon, I found myself in deep conversation with another passenger in the rear galley of the aircraft. Our animated discussion evidently was too loud and another passenger who was seated nearby was disturbed from his sleep. His quick response was to give us a good tongue lashing for waking him up. I stepped nearer to him and immediately apologized and told him we would cease our visit so that he could sleep in peace. Crisis averted! 

A flight attendant who overheard all of this said to me, “That was a wonderful way to handle a charged situation. It could have really escalated.” We began to talk—quietly—about peacemaking and discovered that we were both followers of Jesus. She shared that she was in a class at her church that was studying a book titled “The Peacemakers,” by Ken Sande. 

I owned that book but had not read it. After that I was motivated to pull it out and see what Sande had to say. In the preface of the book are several concepts that Sande refers to as the Four G’s of Peacemaking. Here are the biblical bases of peacemaking as identified by Sande: 

  1. “Glorify God”—biblical peacemaking is motivated and directed by a desire to please and honor God. His interests, reputation and commands should take precedence over all other considerations. This focus not only shows our love and respect for God but also protects us from the impulsive, self-centered decisions that make conflicts even worse. 

  1. “Get the log out of your eye.” Peacemaking requires facing up to our own attitudes, faults and responsibilities before pointing out what others have done wrong. Overlooking the minor offenses of others and honestly admitting our own faults often will encourage similar responses from our opponents and open the way for candid dialogue, reconciliation and constructive negotiation. 

  1. “Go and show your brother his fault.” At times peacemaking also requires constructive confrontation. When others fail to accept responsibility for their actions, we may need to confront them in a gracious yet firm manner. If they refuse to respond appropriately, we may need to involve respected friends, church leaders or other neutral individuals who can help restore peace. 

  1. “Go and be reconciled.” Finally, peacemaking involves a commitment to restoring damaged relationships and developing agreements that are just and satisfactory to everyone involved. Forgiveness and cooperative negotiation clear away the debris left by conflict and make possible reconciliation and genuine peace. “The Peacemakers,” pages 10 & 11. 

Take some time to think, pray and study about how you can be a peacemaker in your home, your church and in your community. If the world ever needed peacemakers, it is now. 

Ken Denslow is president of the Lake Union Conference.