Pastor and author Dr. Derwin L. Gray believes there is a better road to happiness, and it is found in the Beatitudes of Jesus. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus revealed the shocking, countercultural path to true flourishing. It comes not through wealth, fame, or laughter but through poverty, obscurity, and mourning. In this excerpt from his new Bible study, The Good Life, Derwin looks at what it means to be a peacemaker today.
Happy are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).
God is interested in making peace. There’s something about peacemaking. And what I love about God is He doesn’t ask us to do something that He first has not done Himself. That when Jesus of Nazareth comes—fully God, fully man—when He comes to humanity, it’s a peace offering saying, I’m going to liberate us from sin and death and evil. I’m going to remove shame and guilt.
The apostle Paul even goes as far as to say that even while yet we were enemies of God, we become God’s friends through Jesus (Romans 5:6-8). That what He did on the cross wipes away our sin, clears our record, but it also says “you have peace with Me.”
So one of the likenesses of following Jesus: The good life means we engage in peacemaking.
We live in a time in our country where it is incredibly divided. One of the old tactics of war, is if you ever want to make a friend, find somebody that disagrees with you and make them an enemy and those who agree with you will become your friends. We live in a political age like that now.
So let me ask you a question: If Jesus was to sit down with you as you navigate Facebook, as you navigate Instagram—if Jesus was to sit down with you as you navigate social media, would He see you as a person making peace? Are you a peacemaker? Are you a bridge builder for God’s kingdom?
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Why does Jesus tell us to do that? It’s because we are reflecting the grace that we have received. But also when you and I love our enemies, it’s healing to us. Our hearts were not designed to carry hurt. Our hearts were not created to carry bitterness. Our hearts were not created to carry hate. We were created t0 be conduits of the same mercy and grace that we’ve received.
The apostle Paul says this in Romans 12:19-21. He says this, “Friends, do not avenge yourselves, instead leave room for God’s wrath because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me. I will repay, says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in doing so you’ll be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.”
That’s the good life. The good life is a life in which we find happiness and pleasure from trusting God to be who God’s called us to be. Instead of being reactionary to those who’ve harmed us or wounded us, we’re responsive to the One who’s forgiven us.
So, are you and I making peace through our lives because we have peace with God? Are we looking for ways to make peace? Because that correlates to our happiness. Happy are the peacemakers.