Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.
What is a peacemaker? Some Christians live their lives proudly proclaiming themselves peacemakers. I think a bunch of us think that peacemakers are the kind, not-judgey, sweet old grandma type of Christians, so I can understand why someone would want to call themselves that. I believe this is another one of those terms that has slowly changed to be more palpable in our culture. For me, one of the telling signs is that I rarely, if ever, hear a man call himself a peacemaker, but I’ve heard many women describe themselves as this as an interchangeable term for “nice.”
In my almost 23 year journey as a Christian, I’ve tried to sift through what people say things in the Bible mean and what they truly mean. It hasn’t been an easy task and there were moments in my early days as a fairly new Christian that I encountered some pretty unattractive behavior in the name of following Christ and it threw me into a tailspin. I think about that a bunch when I say the Bible says this or that to others because I don’t want to send anyone down the wrong path or not be as true as I possibly can be to His Word – although in a desperate moment or two, I admit I’ve punted with my own children during some scary teen moments…
So, this is what Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has to say and when I checked biblestudytools.com, the definition was very similar, with the mention that in the Bible the word is only used in its plural form:
Peacemaker: one who works with opposing sides in order to bring about an agreement.
Synonyms: broker, conciliator, go-between, honest broker, interceder, intercessor, intermediary, middleman, mediator, troubleshooter, moderator, bargainer, negotiant.
These words describe someone who takes action. While I see honest and other positive representations of peacemaker, I see no mention of nice or silencer of other’s feelings.
So many women have been shamed their whole lives for being outspoken, transparent, passionate, and many other things that “nice” girls are not supposed to be. In our culture we tend to think of these traits as not feminine. We instead think that smiling, never complaining, and always saying “nice” things about people is what little girls are made of. I daresay we think that’s what a peacemaker is.
Who has real, long-term peace from this kind of behavior? The peacemaker? The “made to be peaceful?” How can a nice girl really be known, if she puts on this face all of the time in order to gain other’s approval or to be thought of as “nice?” It’s a lonely achievement… It’s a life of stuffing feelings and putting on faces. It’s a time bomb waiting to explode all over the place with casualties untold.
I’ve seen families and workplaces controlled by peacemakers (who have their own selfish agendas) for years and then one day it all blows up in everyone’s’ faces, because the wounded people have never really been heard and you can only stuff so much festering junk for so long. The ugly behavior of some has been inflicted on others for years, while the peacemaker swept it under the rug, shaming the injured people for saying anything, and never confronting the hurtful people. Often these people become little monsters and the wounded people become isolated, feeling unloved, unworthy of being fought for, until they finally just walk away – physically or, at the very least, emotionally. Meanwhile the “peacemaker” shrugs her shoulders, wonders why people walked away and secretly feels a little relieved that things are still peaceful…
Where are the true peacemakers, the go-betweens, the mediators?
They are usually the outspoken ones trying to stand up for injustice while being accused of having big mouths or being troublemakers – not troubleshooters. This can be a lonely road if they aren’t traveling with others who value truth and honor transparency, but it seems to me that it is the more noble path and the one He would be pleased with. They are, after all, blessed.
I think for me this is another sign that I need to be in His Word more and I need to be in tune to what He has for me, who I am in Him. I don’t want to please other human beings at the risk of not being blessed. I don’t want to walk through this life trying to fit this image of a “nice” girl so people will like me. I want to be bold for Him because He made me bold and I want to love like Him because He made me for that more than any other reason. I want to have the courage to stop allowing shame to curb His vision of me. I want to share other people’s burdens and rejoice in the freedom they discover once they’ve been heard and fought for. I want to live messy and true and in peace.
I am His child and I want my Father’s blessing.