PRINCIPLE 41 | BE A PEACEMAKER
Everywhere we look we see conflict. Political tension, civil unrest, and relational discord is commonplace. Many people experience conflict at work or at home, or both. How are your relationships? Relational pain can rank among the greatest pains in life. But God can — and wants to — help us. James offers hope for the pain that we feel and the conflict we see. In James 3:17 he shows us how we can be a part of the solution and be a Peacemaker.
Verse 17 shows us the Seven Traits of a Peacemaker: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
- PURE. Examine our hearts and recommit to Christ.
Unconfessed sin leads to separation, division, and conflict. Purity of heart leads to peace and reconciliation. A pure heart cannot stand sinful division and unresolved conflict. A pure heart will lead us to build a bridge toward others.
- PEACE-LOVING. Determine to do what we can to make peace, reconcile, and restore.
Being a peacemaker is different than being a peacekeeper. A peacekeeper avoids conflict at all costs. Peacemaking is not just being peaceable. Peacemaking is about entering conflicted waters and building bridges and reconciling conflicted relationships. James is calling us to be PEACEMAKERS.
- CONSIDERATE. Listen to others’ viewpoints, respectfully share ours, and find common ground.
Empathize. To be a peacemaker you have to be considerate. To be considerate you have to be understanding. And to be understanding you need to empathize. See things from the other person’s viewpoint. Walk in their shoes. Feel their pain.
- SUBMISSIVE. Humble ourselves and realize there is only one way to win — through peace.
Another translation calls this being “open to reason.” Peacemakers are the ones who seek to be peaceable and to live out the gospel of peace. They are willing to listen first and seek to understand. Thus, they are open to reason…while not ignoring truth. Jesus was about Grace and Truth. He did not pull anchor on the truth but did relate to everyone in grace. That is profound.
- FULL OF MERCY & GOOD FRUIT. Be merciful and kind and realize that the fruit of our lives speaks to the faith in our hearts.
Good fruit equals acts, deeds, and works of godliness. Ask yourself — in the middle of your conflicted relationship — “How can I share Christ? How can I best represent Christ?”
- IMPARTIAL. It’s not “you vs. me,” but “US together.” Let’s find a way to build a bridge and reconcile our differences.
If our hearts are ruled by the Spirit, we will be able to treat others without prejudice, bigotry, or partiality. We will have grace and show grace to all.
- SINCERE. Not manipulative, with pretense or false motives. Genuine desire to reconcile and restore.
The definition of sincerity is being “free from pretense of deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings; not dishonest or hypocritical. Heartfelt, honest, true.” This is how we need to relate to others.
As we examine our hearts and motives, let’s ask ourselves if there are people we need to reconcile with, relationships that need to be restored, opportunities where we can show mercy and kindness, and genuineness. Are you in conflict with someone? Give it to God. Commit to being a Peacemaker — both now and in the future.