We have arrived at the last three beatitudes.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (verse 9). A peacemaker sees both sides of a position or conflict as valuable. The peacemaker values the personal relationship more than individual points in an argument. He doesn’t seek agreement on every point, but strives to reconcile the two sides through peaceful compromise.
For a LONG time in my life (all the way into early adulthood and then some), the attitude of a peacemaker was foreign to me. I was stubborn and I had a temper. I also had an entitlement attitude that was bigger than I was. People were supposed to listen to MY needs and act in accordance with MY wishes, no matter what. When things didn’t go my way I would blow up. Not quite “Katie Kaboom” but certainly not pleasant either.
“Stubbornness” turned into “determination” somewhere along the way. Self-seeking also became peace seeking. I remember an instance where this change first became apparent to me. For focus and time sake, I won’t go into detail here, but the shift in me caught my attention and I started nurturing the new attitude I saw. I was finally seeing that other points of view had merit and if I wanted to maintain a relationship with others, I had to try seeing things from their side too.
I haven’t arrived and the “peacemaker’s hall of fame” yet. I still get frustrated over things I should let go of for the sake of keeping the peace. I’m finding I need to ask for God’s help with my attitude and underlying frustrations VERY often lately. My rotten apples I mentioned before still keep popping up in my basket.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (verse 10). Here in America, we have no real concept of persecution. We read about it in the bible, in our history books, or hear about it in foreign countries, but don’t really experience it on a deep personal level. When I think of persecution, I see people throw into prison or losing their lives for their faith. We don’t face those consequences YET. If/When the time comes; I pray I will take His side, no matter what the consequences may be.
Our country is moving that way in some areas. Christian business owners being sued for not providing services they feel are in direct conflict with their faith or beliefs. I feel a soap box moment coming on, so I’m going to stop here on this issue. My aim of being a peacemaker and my desire to let God judge the hearts of each of us prevents me from going any further on the examples popping into my mind. Suffice to say that the phrase “for righteousness’ sake” is the key point in determining the eternal value of the stand one chooses to take. If there is no eternal value, sit down!
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (verse 11). This last “beatitude” follows the theme of the previous one, but addresses other conflicts followers of Jesus face on His account. Again, that qualifier of “on My account” is crucial.
As a teenager I ran into the “reviling” kind of behavior from a group of girls and it was on His account. Or more accurately, it was on account of me putting His name prominently on display on my personal property. I proudly, rightfully, and artistically announced I was a Christian and was verbally abused because of it. I wish I had done more to defend Him then, but at least I stood up to them and refused to change my graphics to hide my relationship with Jesus.
I find comfort in the fact that Jesus includes the lesser issues we face for Him as valuable and blessing worthy. I never want to face the life/death confrontation but trust Him to provide me the strength to stand for Him if it came. The little stands build us to the point of being able to take the greater stands. “Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything” Jeff Rich.
God, You have called me to be poor in spirit, meek, merciful, pure in heart, and a peacemaker. You promised me comfort in my mourning and satisfaction for my hungry and thirsty soul. You also promised me Your Kingdom and Your blessings when I stand for You in this world. I am unable to accomplish any of these things on my own. I NEED You! I need YOU to build these characteristics and attitudes in me. Build me, refine me, and challenge me daily. Help me become the woman You created me to be. Let Your light shine in me and through me. Thank You God for the opportunity to share Your word and my heart with others. I want to honor You with my life.