Are you a peacemaker or a peacekeeper?
As I ask that question, I want to make the point that this isn’t about military or law enforcement peacekeepers . . . today we’re talking personal and relational!
I hate conflict and for much of my life, I was a peacekeeper.
I did whatever it took to avoid conflict!
I have a secret for you…
Peacekeepers operate out of fear.
And trying to manage life through constant fear of conflict and upsetting people is a miserable way to live.
5 Characteristics of Fearful PeaceKeepers.
- Peacekeepers believe in peace at any cost. Peacekeepers walk on eggshells to not upset anyone.
- Peacekeepers walk on eggshells to not upset anyone. Peacekeepers hide their true feelings to prevent arguments.
- Peacekeepers hide their true feelings to prevent arguments.
- Peacekeepers work to avoid and prevent conflict.
- Peacekeepers can be vulnerable to people who will bully and abuse them.
Jesus did not tell His followers to be peacekeepers.
He told them to be peacemakers.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
A peacemaker is defined as – one who makes peace through reconciliation.
Do you see the difference?
Peacekeepers keep peace out of fear through avoidance.
Peacemakers restore peace out of strength through reconciliation.
If fear is keeping you in the peacekeeper category. I’ve learned some things I believe will help you go from peacekeeping to the kind of peacemaking Jesus wants for His followers.
10 Things You Need to Know About Being a Peacemaker
A peacemaker has God’s peace.
Take time to grow in your relationship with God and ask Him to remove your fear and fill you with His impossible to understand and explain peace.
I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
A peacemaker has genuine love for others.
Make love your goal. Encourage and build each other up that way when conflict and confrontation become necessary your relationship is built on a strong and healthy foundation.
You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 1 Peter 1:22
A peacemaker prays.
Ask God to help you to know if confrontation is needed. Pray for His wisdom, direction, and peace. Ask Him to help you listen with compassion. And to give you words that will help not hurt.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. Psalm 25:4–5,9
A peacemaker builds trust in every relationship.
Be truthful and trustworthy. Live with integrity. Reconciliation and peace are more likely when there is trust and honesty in the relationship. If you believe a person cares about you and wants what is best for you . . . you are more likely to work together toward peace.
Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. Do what you learned and received from me, what I told you, and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8–9
A peacemaker identifies and addresses conflict.
Know when it’s important to confront and when it’s better to keep silent. That’s not easy. Here are three questions to ask yourself:
1. Does this behavior or situation dishonor God?
So you do not belong to yourselves because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
2. Does it hurt the individual?
Respect for the Lord gives life. It is like a fountain that can save people from death. Proverbs 14:27
3. Does it hurt our relationship?
Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. Ephesians 4:3
A peacemaker wants to understand.
Listen! Approach every conversation with a desire to understand not to respond and stay compassionate. This isn’t about being right or winning . . . it’s about loving and helping.
The mind of a person with understanding gets knowledge; the wise person listens to learn more. Proverbs 18:15
A peacemaker controls his/her anger.
Watch your tone and body language as well as your words. This is hard, isn’t it? When emotions are high it’s hard to stay calm. You can do it! Practice and pray!
Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:31–32
A peacemaker speaks the truth with love.
Choose your words carefully. Make every effort to communicate how much you value the person and the relationship as you talk about the problem.
When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. Ephesians 4:29
A peacemaker works toward resolution.
Do what you can. Do your best. Then trust God with the outcome. Continue to pray. And keep an open heart and mind.
The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love. Ephesians 4:16
A peacemaker is not overcome by fear.
You will have conversations that make your stomach do flip-flops. I know I do. But start at the top of the list and begin again. Don’t give in to fear.
God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Peace-making is hard work!!
It’s not easy. Sometimes it feels easier to be a peacekeeper. But you and I are not called to peacekeeping, we’re called to peacemaking.
I believe by God’s grace and with His help . . . it’s possible or He would not have told about the blessing of peacemaking.
Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18
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