“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Jesus said this to his disciples, in His often-quoted and celebrated Sermon on the Mount — it is found in what we call the Beatitudes. Peacemakers seek out peace, they defend it, they pray for it, they long for it. Not the temporary peace after a lull in conflict or hostility, but the very peace of God. Peacemakers know the difference between aggression and self-preservation. They seek to quell arguments and protect those who are vulnerable from enemies who seek everything but peace. They don’t “take sides” but stand for righteous behavior regardless of what sides exist. They are willing to listen but never to compromise in the face of tyranny and violence for the sake of violence.
Most importantly, they do not worry when conflict happens. They don’t become panic warriors, but lean into intercession and even more hope in the ultimate, peace-ensuring return of the King. It is utterly wrong, however, to simply be silent and let things run their course when wrongs are being done. I am called to be a peacemaker, but a peacemaker is useless if they do not tell the truth about circumstances. Violence between Israel and her neighbors is not a surprise, but it can be disconcerting — and it is always sad.
It is sad to see my own nation’s media bend over backward to falsely manipulate Israel’s image into that of an aggressor, bullying her neighbors and killing children with haphazard bombs and missiles thrown without a thought.
It is sad that the current administration has no spine, no boldness to blast the bad guys back into their caves and create an atmosphere of negotiation and peace.
It is sad to see how the Palestinian people suffer because of the violence of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that fuels terrorism, forced to live in squalor instead of peace and prosperity. They are Abraham’s kids, too — they deserve better.
It is sad to see that Israel feels forced to constantly defend herself in the face of the entire world that moralizes at her. How dare tyrants and abortion-worshipers and dictators pontificate at a nation rebuilt to prevent holocaust, surrounded by nations whose leaders hate everything Jewish?
It is sad to see that children are caught in the crossfire, that civilians across Jerusalem must throw themselves into corners and pray that the Dome catches the missiles aimed at their families.
It is sad that the world intentionally forgets which government has used dozens of children as suicide bombers and assassins, that infects their textbooks and even their TV screens with hate and lies, all in the name of killing Jews.
Make no mistake, the Palestinian people and the Israelis are victims, not perpetrators. The leaders of Palestine have consistently and systematically rejected any and all efforts to make peace. It is they who once said “ “no peace,” “no negotiations” “no recognition” of Israel. They rejected the UN plan that would have given them a large swathe of land in exchange for allowing Israel to be reformed, throwing their people into generations of conflict. Israel stood with desperate and open arms to end conflict and be at peace with her Arab neighbors, and instead the leaders of Palestine became not peacemakers, but warmongers. Warmongers will not be called children of God — and I pity them.
They stir up the anger of a few broken people and enrage them into violence, setting back reconstruction and rebuilding of alliances and the future hope of coexistence between Jewish and Arabic people — Abraham’s kids deserve better. They pay imprisoned terrorists and their families, who continue to fund acts of terror across Israel, the Middle East, and the rest of the world. Every deal, even the most generous, good-will offer is fully rejected, even when an 80% land grant and no further resettlement from Israel is promised. No peace, no negotiations, no recognition. Even though this damns ALL our people to a cycle of bloodshed, we will have what we want.
That is not what peacemakers do. These are not the people peacemakers ignore and leave to their own devices. This is the environment where peacemakers are needed most.
Peacemakers call leaders out with fire and controlled, righteous indignation. They don’t placate or play devil’s advocate, they draw lines in the sand and say “for the sake of peace, you will go no further.” They don’t worry or get into fights over social media or add it to a list of woes. We look at the situation in Israel, in any other part of the world, and act like children of God, purchased for eternity, and grafted onto an ancient promise because of our faith. We intercede and we make sure the lights are on, that those who reject peace are held accountable. We don’t stop until every tribe under heaven is grafted onto God’s promise.
I am praying for a resolution to this conflict. I pray that the Palestinian people are freed from the grip of leaders full of violence and corruption, because they are Abraham’s kids, too. I pray that Israel is finally able to relax her constant vigilance, that her enemies are made powerless, and that the world stands in silent shame as the peacemakers are vindicated and rejoice. The day the skies above Jerusalem and Gaza are full of nothing but sunshine, and the hills and valleys full of life and peace. I’ll never stop praying and hoping for that day.
This hope for Israel’s redemption was something the apostle Paul, one of history’s greatest peacemakers, longed for. Paul, fueled by his own zeal and the breath of the Spirit in him, reminds us of the glorious future, when all those who call on the name of Christ enter into eternity, Jew and Gentile alike. No matter what failure there has been, he knew in his heart that the people of Israel were NOT destined for constant conflict or fear of holocaust— but deliverance and glory. Their destiny is ours! What we have, they should too! Abraham’s kids deserve better. They deserve to have peacemakers on their side.
In Psalm 122, there is a beautiful and vibrant prayer for the city of Jerusalem, during the highest point of its symbolism for Israel and the whole world. Both Israelis and Palestinians alike long to walk the streets of that city in peace. The devil would love nothing more but to divide not just them, not just nations, but even the Church herself over the issues of conflict between Israel and her neighbors. Peacemakers do not fall for the traps he lays. Peacemakers know there is far too much at stake. Peacemakers stand in intercession and hope, trusting that God’s Promise is so much more powerful than even the biggest and baddest missile.
Peacemakers carry the promise of God, regardless of borders, opinions, or even war. Abraham’s kids deserve to grasp the full weight of that promise, and I can’t wait for them to join in. A world where the ancient tensions of the Middle East are a distant memory is only possible when the peacemakers do what Jesus did for His people — and all people. Until Jesus comes again to fulfill all things, the peacemakers have work to do.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity. (Psalm 122:6–9)
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