CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Makers of Peace 3/6/2023

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by Precarious Yates

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. ~ Matthew 5:9

Last year, I was accepted to a program I had dreamed about for years. The University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG) has a degree program called Peace and Conflict Studies. When I received the acceptance letter, I shouted for joy and jumped around—excitement brimmed in my heart because this was a dream fulfilled. What awoke this dream in my heart? These words from Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers…” When I ran across those words as a child, I knew this was my calling.

So the question had to be answered: What is a peacemaker? So many people have different definitions and interpretations of this words. There is a weapon called a “peacemaker” that was used at the OK Corral. Recently, there was a popular superhero series by the same name. When, as a child, I first mentioned that I wanted to be a peacemaker, people asked me if I wanted to join the peace corps before or after college. I was deeply confused by this. I wanted to be a peacemaker according to what Jesus meant. The trouble was, I did not know exactly what Jesus meant.

I knew there was a Nobel Prize for Peace, and I studied the lives and actions of many of the winners, particularly those who shared the same faith as me, hoping I could get a greater understanding for what Jesus meant by using this word. I studied the lives of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa most. Rev. Dr. King fought for justice and equity for all people, particularly African Americans. Mother Teresa worked tirelessly to bring dignity to and provide care for the sick and dying in Calcutta, India. This gave me some ideas to run with, but I still sensed there was a bigger picture in the words of Jesus, perhaps a giant picture from which we all provide a piece of the mosaic.

The Greek word for “peacemaker” is ‘eirenopoios’ which is a compound word of ‘eirene’ which means ‘peace’ and ‘poios’ which means to make or do. The word ‘eirene’ is the closest Greek equivalent to the word that Jesus would have used when teaching the Aramaic speaking citizens who gathered to listen to him. The Aramaic word for peace is ‘shlama’, which is similar to the Hebrew word for peace that many are acquainted with, ‘shalom’, and they share similar meanings. The word shalom means peace, and it also means wholeness, prosperity, and it carries a sense of equity (Zech. 8:16) and a sense of loyalty (Malachi 2:6). When we treat others with equity, this is showing peace. As I ponder on this, I am reminded of the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A sense of loyalty is communicated when a person lovingly bathes a dying individual who is considered untouchable by most of the people in his or her community.

A majority of the passages in the Old Testament that talk about peace refer to relationships within a family or a community. Most of the time when we long for peace, we are experiencing conflicts with the people we interact with on a daily basis. Oftentimes, peace comes when there iis forgiveness and reconciliation. When we forgive and reconcile, we are peacemakers. Some of the origins of strife are too terrible or complicated for people to handle on their own. When we act as a mediator working to bring peace between others, rather than taking a side, we act as peacemakers.

In the New Testament, one of the main ways peace is discussed is in regards to having peace with God. Jesus, on the cross, achieved this for us. When we have faith in Jesus and receive His free gift of salvation, we have peace with God. Romans 5:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” We now have peace with God! Having peace means that we have access to God’s grace. When we share the good news of Jesus with others, when let them know that they too can walk in this peace with God and live in abundant grace, we become peacemakers.

With the Lord, we live in a reality of abundance as it’s expressed in the words of David in Psalm 23:5, “my cup overflows.” God does not give us a small drop of peace. He gives us His peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27). His peace is not simply the absence of war and strife, His peace is the presence of abundance, of wholeness, of prosperity, and of equity. Ask God for the peace that surpasses all understanding, and He will give you enough to share. Then go forth, peacemaker, and share your abundance!

May God richly bless you with His peace,

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.


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