We may (mis)use Jesus’ beatitude to be a people-pleaser, conflict-avoider, referee for other people’s conflicts, or fixer of problems. But in Matthew 5:8 Jesus is not saying, “Be a peacemaker and God will bless you.”

As I explain in my booklet Jesus’ Greatest Teaching, in his beatitudes the divine Rabbi has something much better for us than “Principles for Healthy Living” or “How to Get Your Blessing.” Jesus is giving us Good News! He’s ministering to us the blessing that we can be part of God’s Kingdom!

In effect, our Lord says to us, “Give up your project of trying to make your life turn out the way you want it to. Forget about performing to get God’s favor. Look, I’m here to forgive your shortcomings and open the way for you to live in the Father’s world with me. Follow me and you’ll experience real life!”

Paul echoes Jesus’ beatitude of peace when he says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” (Colossians 3:15)

In other words, the blessing of Jesus’ beatitudes is not in their conditions — it’s in the Kingdom. His point is not, “You’ll be so blessed when you do peace-making duties.” Rather, he’s saying, “When you do peace-making duties there is a wonderful blessing available to you in the Kingdom Among Us.”

To understand Jesus we need to realize he’s talking to particular people who are trying to bring peace to others who are fighting.

Here are some contextualized paraphrases of Jesus’ beatitude to help us get Jesus’ idea:

“Blessed are you, Bill when you’re caught in the crossfire between a pastor and elders who are at odds because you are one of God’s beloved sons.”

“Blessed are you, Kristi when you’re offering marital counseling to a couple in conflict and they both get angry at you because the Prince of Peace is there to govern your heart.”

“Blessed are you, police officer, when you’re called into a case of domestic violence, for the Father’s world of peace is available to you (and to them).”

“Blessed are you, friend, when people fight against what you want, for your Father in the heavens supports you and believes the best about you.”

“Blessed are you, pastor, when people disagree with your sermon, for the peace of Christ is more than sufficient for you.”

We’re using the lens of the Enneagram on our Soul Talks podcast to talk about personality, relationships, and faith. In the last two shows, we interview our adult daughter Briana who is a Peacemaker (Enneagram 9).

You may especially need Jesus’ beatitude of true peace. If you relate to being a Peacemaker then you probably find yourself swimming in feeling-thoughts like these:

Be a pleaser… Avoid conflict… Don’t feel anxious… When people are at odds help them get along… You can’t deal with that stress now, just watch a movie (or read a book… eat a snack… go to sleep).

Instead, if you look to Christ as the Peacemaker (and the perfect Enneagram 9) then you can take courage from him. Look in the Gospels at how he speaks the truth in love, how he can express anger in ways that are healthy and loving, how he doesn’t totally rescue people but expects them to be responsible, how he asserts himself to take care of his own soul, especially as it relates to his intimacy with the Father.

Instead of denying your anger and becoming passive-aggressive, you can admit to feeling frustrated, angry, or resentful. You don’t have to always be the one is adapting to other people and pouring yourself into them — you have needs too! You can ask for a friend to be emotionally available and encouraging for you (like you do for them).

Bill is a psychologist and ordained pastor, specializing in ministry to pastors.  He was personally mentored for many years by Dallas Willard and Ray Ortlund Sr. 

As a Spiritual Formation Pastor, he’s served in a mega-church and a church plant. He’s also trained over 1,000 lay counselors and taught courses in Christian psychology and spirituality at the graduate school level.  He and Kristi train pastors and other men and women in ministry in their Soul Shepherding Institute and Spiritual Direction certificate program.

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