Because life is all about learning how to love, God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt, or a conflict. In fact, the Bible tells us that God has given us the ministry of restoring relationships.
For this reason a significant amount of the New Testament is devoted to teaching us how to get along with one another. Paul wrote, “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you,… Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.” Paul taught that our ability to get along with others is a mark of spiritual maturity.
Since Christ wants his family to be known for our love for each other, broken fellowship is a disgraceful testimony to unbelievers. This is why Paul was so embarrassed that the members of the church in Corinth were splitting into warring factions and even taking each other to court. He wrote, “Shame on you! Surely there is at least one wise person in your fellowship who can settle a dispute between fellow Christians.’ He was shocked that no one in the church was mature enough to resolve the conflict peaceably. In the same letter, he said, “I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other.”
If you want God’s blessing on your life and you want to be known as a child of God, you must learn to be a peacemaker. Jesus said, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are the peace lovers,” because everyone loves peace. Neither did he say, “Blessed are the peaceable,” who are never disturbed by anything. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who work for peace” those who actively seek to resolve conflict. Peacemakers are rare because peacemaking is hard work.
Because you were formed to be a part of God’s family and the second purpose of your life on earth is to learn how to love and relate to others, peacemaking is one of the most important skills you can develop. Unfortunately, most of us were never taught how to resolve conflict.
Peacemaking is not avoiding conflict. Running from a problem, pretending it doesn’t exist, or being afraid to talk about it is actually cowardice. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was never afraid of conflict. On occasion he provoked it for the good of everyone. Sometimes we need to avoid conflict, sometimes we need to create it, and sometimes we need to resolve it. That’s why we must pray for the Holy Spirit’s continual guidance.
Peacemaking is also not appeasement. Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind. He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition.