Years ago, Joel and I were at a meeting, and he and another man whom I didn’t know had been talking for a while when I joined them. This man was talking passionately to Joel about a theological position that didn’t make sense to me. Joel listened very cordially for a while, then explained that we had to leave. When we were getting in the car, I asked him, “Who was that man? Did you agree with what he was going on and on about?” Joel shook his head and said, “No, I didn’t.” Then I said, “Well, you were standing there so nice. I thought maybe you did.” Joel responded, “Victoria, I wasn’t put on this earth to straighten everybody out.”
I thought that was profound. It’s so easy to get into conflicts because we differ in our personalities and perspectives. Too often we want to have our own way and win an argument, even if it devastates our spouse. We have to be the right one and straighten out our children, friends, or coworkers, making them feel wrong. It’s exactly the opposite attitude that Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). He’s saying, “You’re not blessed when you’re right. You’re not blessed when you win every argument and have the last word. You are blessed when you are willing to let go of an offense. You are blessed when you don’t walk in the pathway of strife. You are blessed when you don’t have to have your way. You are blessed when you are willing to keep the peace.”
When I looked up the synonyms of “a peacemaker,” it states “a diplomat, an arbitrator, a mediator, a calmer, a soother, a go-between.” It reads like the characteristics of Jesus, doesn’t it? It’s the attitude that He walked in while He was on this earth. He made peace for us so that we can make peace for others. We can be instruments of peace. We have to walk with the heart of a peacemaker.