Confessions of a Chronic Peacekeeper
By Lindsey Fontneau
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Anyone else afraid of confrontation?
I remember even at a very young age that even the utter thought of having conflict with someone terrified me to my core. The chance that I could possibly have offended someone with my words was unthinkable to me, and I would go to endless efforts to make sure I was keeping the peace with everyone in my path.
This is a great formula for being everyone’s best friend. It is also a great formula for holding grudges, becoming bitter, and leaving my feelings unaddressed.
I have always loved Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, and specifically the Beatitudes. Matthew 5 is undoubtedly the most marked up section in my Bible, as this particular passage has always spoken to me differently depending on my life’s circumstances. (The Holy Spirit has a way of doing that, doesn’t He?)
However, God is teaching me in His gentle yet direct way that keeping the peace is different than making peace. Jesus, after all, was no stranger to conflict. He didn’t run from it. No—in fact, He faced in head on, with honesty, grace, and love in His demeanor.
Lately, I have been challenged by this short, simple verse: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Perhaps it would be easy to call myself, as one who doesn’t easily engage in conflict, a “peacemaker.” After all, I am good at keeping the peace, right? I think it’s safe to say we all know someone who will jump at any opportunity to be contrarian, but that’s just not me.
Eugene Peterson in the Message version writes Matthew 5:9 in this way: “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”
I don’t know about you, but I desire nothing more than to discover my place in God’s family. And if that means being an example of cooperation when fighting or competing may be the easier choice for some, well then bring it on.