All around our world we see wars, civil unrest, riots, and political parties at each other’s throats. At home we have squabbles and conflicts rumbling on in our communities and families, often for years. Indeed, there is often conflict everywhere we look.
How should we respond to it?
In Matthew’s Gospel we read “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (5:9) Put simply, this means ‘You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.’
Into a world that is full of conflict Christians are called to be peacemakers, to be active in reconciling people to each other and to God. To be “people who produce right relationships in every sphere of life.” (William Barclay)
Peacemaking requires a lot of effort. It is rarely straightforward, takes time and emotional energy, with a risk that you might get a bit bruised in the process, as you step into the conflict.
It means choosing to respond rather than simply react. Choosing to listen rather than just hear. Seeing the person in front of us as God does, because He sees someone He loves.
Peacemaking tries to build bridges to people, it does not want the friction to remain. It wants reconciliation. It wants harmony.
Simply brushing the problem under a carpet to avoid conflict or acting as if everything is alright when it isn’t, does not bring about peace. Putting our head in the sand, never resolves anything.
Conflict is never resolved accidentally. It needs someone to take the first step. We need to be the people that do that. To be the one prepared to initiate reconciliation.
And, sometimes, peacemaking doesn’t work, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying!