One, Unity, and Blessed Peacemakers
I used to read the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11 as a sort of to-do / to-be list in order to be blessed. Gotta thirst for righteousness, be merciful, have a pure heart, and be a peacemaker. Tough, but maybe not entirely impossible?
It's been sinking in how that really doesn't make sense. This a backwards list, as are most things with Jesus, where He's heaping blessing on those who mourn and are poor in spirit and perpetually seek and are persecuted. Okay. Well. Those things are a little more uncomfortable, and do I even want to put them on my Christian to-do list?
At the root, these blessings are less about our effort to be something good, and more about Jesus meeting people down where they are in their struggles in life.
So blessing the peacemakers, as Jesus says in verse 9, isn't as much calling us to it (at least not in this particular verse), as He is speaking encouragement to the overlooked and burdened peacemakers. A category in line with mourning and being pour in spirit and meekness and persecution. It's a tough place to find yourself, this trying to find peace and unity in a divided world. (affiliate links used*)
Peacemaking can be a hard burden to carry.
I was reading a book on parenting when I read and re-read a paragraph that took me back to my counselor's office in college, particularly this line: "In an effort to bring peace and comfort to those they love, Type 2 children sometimes take on too much emotional responsibility for others." (The Child Whisperer)
It goes on to talk about appreciating and honoring this natural gift of bringing peace into the home, without relying on it to resolve family conflict. Then it concludes with advice to remind this type of child "that they are not responsible for anyone's feelings but their own."
I remember finally breaking down in college and going to the campus counselor. I remember working through my independence and breaking it down so I could see and accept my need for Jesus. I remember sharing about others' stresses that I shouldn't have been carrying (and they likely didn't know I was carrying), and feeling caught in the middle.
That little paragraph in that book about parenting took me back to that tension of trying to create peace for others. It's natural for me to do. To feel someone else's pain and discomfort and want to fix it for them. It's natural for me to take that on and try to create peace in the tension so we call all feel loved and stay connected.
For some people this is no big deal. For peacemakers, it's an ongoing burden of carrying other people's struggles and emotions. It's a constant discomfort of sitting in the tension between sides, of trying to be the bridge instead of build the bridge. The good news I had to relearn in that counselor's office and that I remind myself of today: The bridge in our Savior already exists. We aren't meant to carry that burden for ourselves or anyone else.
We are meant to follow our own peacemaker road--sometimes because it's just naturally who we are, and sometimes because we've been called into it by God. And that blessed burden comes with a promise: We shall be called sons of God.
One: Unity in a Divided World by Deidra Riggs releases today and is a book for peacemakers by a peacemaker. I can say that because I know Deidra, and I've seen her regularly place herself in the tension between sides and invite people to join her. She creates a grace-filled place where we can truly sit and listen to each other instead of shouting across self-drawn lines.
This book is a timely invitation to join in Jesus' mission of making us one. As she writes in the intro: "Oneness is God's desire for us. Unity is what Jesus prayed for us. The odds are definitely in our favor."
Read it if you're a natural peacemaker or if you're feeling God calling you into the role of peacemaker in your own life and among your own circle.
Learn more or get Deidra's book >> here.
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every little breath
caught in between
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