How do you resolve conflicts? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” I don’t know about you, but I am tired of Facebook. Facebook has become a place to throw ideological grenades with no thought as to what may happen. Friends and family will post inflammatory statements and not want to engage afterwards. Over the last year we have seen it get so much worse and often it’s our Christian friends who are the worst offenders. What can we do?
When Jesus gives his most famous sermons (Matthew 5-7) you have to understand something. What He was sharing was revolutionary and at times downright scandalous! This was the beginning of his earthly ministry and Jesus was definitely becoming known. Jesus had been traveling throughout Galilee teaching and healing. Word of this spread throughout the area, to Syria, and beyond the Jordan and crowds have gathered.
Jesus went through the foundations of Hebraic Law, contrasting the people’s mistaken ideas with His Godly truth. Many of the topics Jesus would teach on would begin with, “you have heard it said …” and the he would correct it with, “But I tell you…”
I want to focus on this idea of peacemaking and dispel some myths. First, let’s define a term. Blessed is the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. Peacemaking is NOT the avoidance of conflict. Peace in the Bible is never to be confused with pacifism. Peace is not avoiding strife. Peace is not appeasing parties. We must remember that just glossing over problems, acting as if everything is alright when it is not, is not being a peacemaker.
Peacemaking can be messy work. It takes time and emotional energy. Jesus, our best example of a peacemaker, established healing relationships of peace the people around Him. It’s harder for us. We will fail, and we will get bruised, but we are called to love one another.
Next time you are checking your newsfeed and find yourself confronted with a post that bothers or upsets you think of the acronym ENATA. ENATA will help us to respond rather than just react. Before you respond, ask yourself is what you want to say Effective, Necessary, Accurate, Timely, and Appropriate? If you cannot answer yes to these, perhaps you should just listen and not add to the noise and vitriol. Remember, God is the God of Peace (Heb.13:20) and Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), when we are peacemakers, we are partaking of God’s nature.