Peace. What a commodity. We value it. We want it. We long for it. Peace as mentioned in the New Testament literally means, “to set at one again.” The picture is something that was once set in place has either been removed or toppled over (think of the game Jenga, remove foundational pieces and over it goes). Chaos, strife, irritation, even war are the results. Once it is set back in place—PEACE.
Remember God and man (and Eve) in the Garden? Their relationship was good and whole (peace-filled). Then there was a sin outbreak, and the fellowship was broken—toppled over.
For generations (begetting) generations there was a missing element, what was—is no longer. Later Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Prince of Peace and the government resting on His shoulders (9:6). Fast forward to Luke chapter 2, the angels announce, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace…” (v14). Peace was on earth. Jesus is the missing piece (peace). He came bridging the gap between man and his God. He set it all back in place. Fellowship restored. Peace has been re-set.
When there is a lack of peace amongst us (chaos, strife or irritation) we have a choice. We can either be a peacekeeper or a peacemaker.
Many years ago, I sensed Holy Spirit had me take a deeper look at the difference between the two. I found it to be rather eye-opening. Whenever God puts something in front of us, it may not be for “now.” He may be preparing us for someday.
A peacekeeper’s motivation is hoping to NOT rock the boat. Running from one person to the other, trying to keep everyone happy. Calm and happiness over here (rock). Please be happy and calm over there (rock). But as they bounce from one to another—they add to the rocking. Not to mention (but I will) the waves they make.
A peacemaker doesn’t run. (Phew!) How exhausting. A peacemaker stands. They stand right in the middle. Remember what biblical peace is? Setting at one again. It is speaking and raising truth IN the chaos. It isn’t raising a white flag as to surrender. It is the flag of occupation. Peace making is resetting. Bringing truth into the moment.
Five years ago, I was officiating my grandmother’s funeral. After the service while walking through the potluck line, some family members began to get into it. As it got rather HEATED, I stepped forward and (lovingly) but very boldly told them “Not here. NOT now.” We are here today to honor Grandma. Holding my ground, they calmed down and dished themselves more taco salad casserole.
You see just a few months prior, one of our family members committed suicide. As you can imagine it tore the family apart. So. Much. Pain. In the pain there were opinions and voiced perspectives. These ripped a few family members out.
As I stood holding my plate, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “There it is—peacemaker.” I didn’t run from side to side. I stood and spoke truth. In the center of it all. “Not here. Not now.”
Jesus calls us to be peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9). What a reward to be called a son or daughter of God, as we reflect His character in promoting well-being through Jesus Christ. As we take a stand. A stand of light, of salt, authority—of speaking truth—bringing GOD to a situation, we are instruments of peace in the world, to the world.
This last spring my niece got married, it was an extremely wet and rainy day. But under that big white tent was a most beautiful thing. My other niece, whom we hadn’t seen in five years—she came to the wedding. She showed up.
Sometimes peace is a process.
Peacekeeping runs. Peacemaking stands! Standing in the middle and speaking—truth in the situation. Setting truth back in the center—Peace.
Above is an excerpt (more to come) from my teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit at a recent women’s retreat. It was my honor to be with the great group of women from Riverside Community Church, in Rainier, Oregon. If you’re in their area, stop in and see them. You’ll be blessed.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrew 10:24).