Blessed are the Peacemakers

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by Ray DeGraw

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

I will focus on the first part (the characteristic of being a peacemaker) in this post.

It is interesting as I begin to focus on this attribute of perfection to point out that the term “peacemaker” is found only twice in our entire scriptural canon – in the two “Sermons on the Mount” we have recorded in Matthew and 3 Nephi. However, there are 366 instances of “peace”, and some of the more instructive ones for this particular resolution include:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

(It is fascinating that this name – “Prince of Peace” – is the last title listed in a group of names that appears to be in ascending order of importance.)

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39)

I really like the way that peace in this verse is followed by a command to be “still” – and that the result is described as “a great calm”.  I will post more about this verse in future posts.

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Revelations 12:18)

This verse is intriguing, because it appears to grant that there are some situations where it is not possible to live peaceably with others, but that we should strive to do so as much as possible.

As I began to focus on this attribute, I immediately thought of two places where I needed to work on becoming more of a peacemaker: at home (with my wife and children) and on the blogs I frequented. I also was struck by something as I thought of this attribute in relation to those that come before it in the Beatitudes – and it is worth considering before moving on to other aspects of peace and why making peace brings the result of being called the children of God.

To be a peacemaker in the fullest sense of the word requires me to step outside of my own life, if you will, and insert myself between others. Of course, part of “making peace” is establishing peace within one’s own soul (reaching an internal stillness and a calmness), but to become a “perfect” peacemaker (“complete, whole, fully developed”) requires me to step out of myself and mediate peace among and between the non-peaceful. It is impossible to achieve if I avoid all conflict.  It requires me to step out of a comfort zone and risk rejection by those whom I am trying to help. It means pointing out instances of arguing and fighting and bickering – and the natural man who is the target of that attempt to help is not prone to enjoy that type of effort, even when done in meekness and mercy.

This means it is critical in any effort to be a peacemaker to have internalized the earlier attributes of meekness and mercy, and it highlights the fact that the Beatitudes were structured on a progressively ascending scale – that one really does lead to the next, which leads to the next, which leads to perfection (completeness, wholeness, full development).

My question for this post is simple:

Who have been peacemakers in your life – and what have you learned from them?

About Ray DeGraw

I am the husband of my high school sweetheart and father of six children. I basically have no life outside of family, work and church - except blogging, which I have been doing actively, to put it mildly, for the past 5 years. I have lived in almost every section of the United States and currently reside in Carson City, NV. I have written at Things of My Soul, Mormon Matters, Times & Seasons and StayLDS.com - and commented more than occasionally at various sites in the Bloggernacle.

2 Responses to Blessed are the Peacemakers

  1. dallske says:

    Although you focused on personal relationships, which is highest in importance, I feel it is also important, and completes one’s personal quest to be as peaceable as possible, if we forget not the global scale of being a peacemaker. I feel it an important aspect, especially since I can categorize the majority of active members of the LDS community as conservative. Being in such a category, one is likely to support a “trigger-happy” mentality where we as a nation go to war and as long as we think we have a good excuse, we hide behind it, rationalizing our warmongering. Let me not be misunderstood: it is plain and simple warmongering and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to hide behind any excuse for it and pretend it is legitimate. I understand a “just” cause. I understand there were “unavoidables” like the Revolution and the Civil War. Yet if we truly want to call ourselves peacemakers, we really need to reevaluate that part of ourselves. The part we blindly associate with the general conservative mindset.

  2. Ray says:

    Amen, dallske.

    It is a tendency we ought not encourage and ought to examine continually.

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