Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Blessed are the peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Have you ever met someone who has a knack for putting people at ease? When everyone else is arguing, they are calm. When everyone else is reacting, they are peacefully sizing up the situation. They seem to know how to defuse tension and get people talking to each other.

It seems that Barnabas was such a person. Scripture tells us that when the recently converted Paul asked to join the apostles in Jerusalem, Barnabas persuaded them to trust Paul (Acts 9:26-30). That was no small feat, since Paul—formerly Saul—had a reputation of persecuting Christians. Think how differently things might have turned out if they had rejected him!

What was Barnabas’ secret? Well, he probably had an ability, a gift to relate to all kinds of people, but he probably didn’t rely on raw talent alone. The demands of missionary life called for more. So he also worked to develop his people skills more and more. You can imagine him sharing God’s peace in small ways every day so that he would be ready for the big challenges when they came along.

You have undoubtedly found yourself in a few tense situations. So how can you be an agent of Jesus’ peace in them? First, and most important, pause to pray. You might say, “Lord, help me keep my emotions under control. Guard my thoughts and my speech. Fill me with your peace.”

Second, be careful not to jump in right away. Listen first. Consider what may be behind a person’s words. Many disagreements can be resolved by hearing out the other person’s views. Sometimes it isn’t even necessary to agree.

Finally, speak positively. Try not to take a side if you can at all help it. If someone is angry, let them know that you understand their feelings. You may want to draw them aside to blow off steam more privately. If someone is troubled or upset, offer to pray with them. If someone is disagreeing with you, seek common ground instead of highlighting your differences. Like Barnabas, you can take small steps that will make a big difference—and bring the peace of Christ into the world.

“Lord, make me a peacemaker.”

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