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Peacemakers

Blessed are the peace­mak­ers, for they shall be called the chil­dren of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Christ, the “prince of peace,” (Isa­iah 9:6) gives the peace of God to those who believe in Him.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. (John 14:27) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. (John 16:33)

This is the peace which Saint Paul lists as one of the “fruits of the Holy Spir­it” (Gala­tians 5:22); the “peace of God which pass­es all under­stand­ing.”(Philip­pi­ans 4:7) It is peace under­stood as “the lib­er­a­tion from pas­sions, which can­not be attained with­out the action of the Holy Spir­it.” (Saint Mark the Ascetic, 4th c., Two Cen­turies on Spir­i­tu­al Law) The peace­mak­ers are those who have the peace of God in them­selves and spread this peace to those around them. This peace, first of all, is the free­dom from all anx­i­ety and fear. It is the peace of those who are not anx­ious about their lives, about what they shall eat and drink, about what they shall wear. (Cf. Matthew 6:25–33) It is the peace with which men’s hearts are not trou­bled nor afraid of any­thing. (Cf. John 14:27) It is the peace which exists in men even in the most ter­ri­ble of human sit­u­a­tions, in suf­fer­ing and in death. It is the peace which is in the one who can say:

Who shall sep­a­rate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribu­la­tion, or dis­tress, or per­se­cu­tion or famine, or naked­ness, or per­il or sword? As it is writ­ten, “For Thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regard­ed as sheep to be slaugh­tered.” (Psalm 44:22)

No, in all these things we are more than con­querors through Him who loved us. For I am sure nei­ther death nor life, nor angels, nor prin­ci­pal­i­ties, nor things present, nor things to come, nor pow­ers, nor height, nor depth, nor any­thing else in all cre­ation, will be able to sep­a­rate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39)

The inner peace of God is not the absence of exter­nal con­flict. The peace­mak­ers of God are not those who are freed from ter­rif­ic strug­gles in life, or those who can cause the absence and dis­ap­pear­ance of strife among men. Christ Him­self did not do this. On the con­trary, the Prince of Peace Him­self, the Lord who gives strength and peace to His peo­ple (Psalm 29:11), has claimed that He Him­self will be the cause of much con­flict among men.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daugh­ter against her moth­er, and a daugh­ter-in-law against her moth­er-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own house­hold. He who loves father or moth­er more than me is not wor­thy of me; and he who loves son or daugh­ter more than me is not wor­thy of me; and he who does not take up his cross and fol­low me is not wor­thy of me. He who finds his life will lose it; and he who los­es his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34–39; Luke 12:49–53)

The blessed peace­mak­er is the one who bears wit­ness to Christ and takes up his cross and los­es his life for the Lord with­out fear or anx­i­ety. He is the one who enters every human con­flict until the end of time, for­ti­fied by the peace of God. He is the one who does not deny the Lord or com­pro­mise His truth by the exer­cise of vio­lence, but bears wit­ness by his own peace in the midst of con­flict, the peace which is “not as the world gives.” (John 14:27) Thus, the peace­mak­er does not pro­voke oth­ers to irri­ta­tion or vio­lence, except by the truth and love of his life, and leaves all vengeance to the Lord. He is the one who fol­lows Jesus in over­com­ing evil only by good.

If pos­si­ble, so far as it depends on you, live peace­ably with all. Beloved, nev­er avenge your­self, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is writ­ten, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Leviti­cus 19:18, Deuteron­o­my 32:35) No, “if your ene­my is hun­gry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burn­ing coals upon his head.” (Proverbs 25:21- 22) Do not be over­come by evil, but over­come evil with good. (Romans 12:18–21)

In mak­ing peace, the peace­mak­er him­self is a son of God like the Lord Jesus Him­self, who para­dox­i­cal­ly and inevitably is the cause of much scan­dal and strife. (Cf. Luke 2:34–35, 7:23, 21:18)