What is a peacemaker? A literal definition would be “one who makes peace.” While this is certainly correct it’s one of those totally unhelpful definitions found in more annoying dictionaries. “Making peace” implies the establishment of a state free from strife. So does that mean peacemakers avoid conflict and seek to not rock the proverbial boat? I know several people who ascribe to this definition but I have never understood why they think avoiding issues is peaceful. In my experience all it does is cause pain and resentment to fester under the surface. At best it creates a false image of peace, one that is rapidly torn to shreds when the buried negativity finally busts out. The aftermath is usually ugly and incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.

What, then, does it mean to “make peace”? True peacemakers do not avoid conflict. Instead, they seek to resolve it, to turn arguments into conversations, to change animosity into cooperation. None of that is simple. It takes someone with a true gift from God to achieve such things. Peacemakers need a deep understanding of people’s hearts and an ability to put things in perspective. Establishing peace doesn’t mean eliminating disagreement. It means establishing an environment (external and internal) where disagreements and differences don’t result in anger, fights, and hatred. Free will and varying personalities ensure that problems will arise but that doesn’t mean we can’t live together peacefully. That’s the way God intended humanity to live in the first place before our own sin messed everything up. Peacemakers bring about this intended state, if only partially. That’s why this beatitude calls them the children of God: they work to restore what their Father originally created.