Blessed are the Peacemakers

indexBeatitude No. 7 is in Matt. 5:9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The word, “peace” (Gk. eirene), means, “harmony, tranquility.” The Hebrew word is shalom, which means, health, welfare, and well-being. (Gingrich) But Jesus referred to “peace” in the context of the Kingdom. Thus, the word peace means harmony and well-being under the rule of God.

Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of the peace of God, the harmony and well-being of God under the rule of God. The peacemakers (Gk. eirenopoios) then, are those who make peace, harmony, and well-being between two warring parties.

Billy Graham notes that this world badly needs peacemakers. He cites the number of wars fought by various nations from 1480 to 1941—a 461 year period. Great Britain – 78 wars, France – 71, Spain – 64, Russia – 61, Austria – 52, Germany – 23, China – 11, Japan – 9, U.S.A. – 13 plus 110 against the Indians in America.

It appears that Europeans are more violent than Asians. But don’t discount the USA—a total of 123 wars, including their wars against their own native American Indians. The USA is not as peace-loving as you think. Who owns the biggest and most expensive military today? Who spends more on war material than any other country? Who invented the Colt 45 to stop the attacking Filipino Muslim warriors in Mindanao? The good ol’ USA.

In the past 4,000 years, there has been less than 300 years of peace, Graham cites.[1] If so, only 7.5% of 4,000 years of human history was peaceful. About 92.5% of 4,000 years of human history was violent.

A “peacemaker” is one who “restores peace between people.” The word may mean the end of wars. But it refers primarily to “reconciliation between persons.” (Louw-Nida)  Peacemakers reconcile “interpersonal relationships.” They reconcile one person to another person. They reconcile rebellious people to God.[2] Peacemaking is horizontal—reconciling people to people. But peacemaking is also vertical—reconciling people to God.

Along V. Rama Ave. next to Jollibee Banawa, Cebu City, there is a very big house with a very high wall. The wall is about 12 feet high, with a beautiful gate. At first, I thought it was a government bank where they hide the Yamashita treasure. Then they told me that it’s the private residence of the Gullas family.

What high wall is now separating you from your loved one? What high wall is standing between you and your friend? Peacemakers break down the wall between two warring people.

It’s easier to become war-makers than peacemakers. We find it easy to talk bad about somebody. We find it easy to find fault, cause trouble, or create mistrust.[3] We easily become war-makers. But peacemakers magnify the good in people. They find the good points, minimize trouble, and build trust.

[1] Billy Graham, The Secret of Happiness (New York: Doubleday, 1955), 85.

[2] Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew (NAC 22; ed. David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman, 1992), 100.

[3] McEachern, “Beatitudes.”


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