As human history repeatedly and sadly demonstrates, peace breaking is much easier than peace making. Yet, in the seventh beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
How does one go about making peace?
God’s actions as described in Ephesians 2:11-16 provide a practical and proven template for the arduous and blessed task of making peace.
First, ignore the superficial matters and concentrate only on the substantial ones (vv. 11-13). Spiritually speaking, circumcision is a superficial matter to God. “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything” (Galatians 5:6). God justified Abram when he was uncircumcised (Romans 4:10), because of his faith (Romans 4:9). A peacemaker must focus upon the sin(s) which has caused the rupture in a relationship.
Second, focus on Christ as the ground of peace (v. 14). The price for every sin against humanity was paid by Jesus in His sacrificial death. Because of this, no one has any need to hold on to a grudge or nurse a wound. Allowing a root of bitterness to take hold and grow in one’s heart is unnecessary and completely out of harmony with Jesus’ example (Luke 23:34).
Third, put the enmity between the estranged parties to death by reconciliation (vv. 15-16). Reconciliation requires two equally necessary ingredients—repentance and forgiveness. Repentance never minimizes one’s actions, responsibility, or guilt. It is best done with three simple, heartfelt words: “I have sinned.” Forgiveness releases the debtor of his entire debt. There is no installment plan. There is no grave marker erected for later visitation. It too is best done with three simple, sincere words: “I forgive you.”
Rarely is the business of peace making easy, but it is possible when God’s children go about it by imitating their Father.