Why Jesus Stressed Peacemaking in Our Pursuit of Happiness
I majored in theater at Penn State back in the day.
My favorite show was “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” I played the lead role—the blockhead himself—Charlie Brown. Type casting no doubt!
The musical’s theme song, “Happiness” features a litany of things from pizza with sausage to climbing a tree that make for true happiness.
But Lucy and Linus join voices with the best lyric in the tune singing, “getting along.” Happiness is getting along.
It reminds me of a sermon Jesus preached about happiness. He proclaimed nine virtues which make for kingdom happiness called the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12). Each begins with the word “blessed.”
The seventh focuses on the joy of getting along in relationships. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (5:9).
Happy, fortunate, enviable—all synonyms for “blessed”—are those who determine to get along with others whenever possible and help others do the same.
Conflict impacts everyone. No one escapes differences which can lead to relational breakdowns.
I get this. In only my second elder meeting at my new church recently, I stepped on a conflict landmine. A lack of sensitivity on my part about a painful conflict in their past history ended a way-to-short honeymoon. Sigh.
It happens to all of us–even guys who dare to write books on preserving unity! Oh the irony. What to do? I asked the Lord to help me gear up once again as a peacemaker. I suspect it won’t be the last time either.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stresses that true happiness belongs to those who prioritize pursuing peace with others–no matter how often they must do so.
Other New Testament texts echo this. The apostle Paul pleads, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). The writer to the Hebrews exhorts, “Strive for peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Why is peacemaking a kingdom of God true happiness virtue? The answer comes in the rest of Matthew 5:9— “for they shall be called sons of God.”
Working hard at maintaining oneness and repairing brokenness—whether with family, friends, or adversaries–gets us the blessing of being called children of God. It gives evidence that we belong to the God of peace who sent the Prince of Peace with the message of the gospel of peace reconciling us to himself.
There is no greater happiness than that. Are you known as a peacemaker? Would others say that about you? If so, take it from Jesus. You are blessed!
Question: What principle or insight has helped you experience happiness as a biblical peacemaker?