Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18
When World War I erupted in 1914, British statesman Sir Edward Grey declared, “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Grey was right. When the “war to end all wars” finally ended, some 20 million had been killed (10 million of them civilians) and another 21 million injured.
While not on the same scale or magnitude, devastation can also occur in our personal lives. Our home, workplace, church, or neighborhood can also be shrouded by the dark specter of conflict. This is one of the reasons God calls us to be difference-makers in the world. But to do so we must rely on His wisdom. The apostle James wrote, “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:17–18).
The role of peacemaker is significant because of its harvest. The word righteousness means “right standing” or “right relationship.” Peacemakers can help restore relationships. No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). His children, relying on His wisdom, become instruments of His peace where it’s needed most.
In what personal conflicts do you need the light of God’s wisdom? How can His peace enable you to be a peacemaker when people around you choose to fight?
Father, Your light penetrates the deepest darkness and Your peace calms the most troubled heart. Help me know Your wisdom and peace and carry it to others in their struggles as well.
Listen to Discover the Word, “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” at DiscoverTheWord.org/series/why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along/.
James 3 demonstrates why the label “the Proverbs of the New Testament” fits the book of James. For example, both books share the common themes of speech and wisdom. James 3:5–12 describes the power of the tongue and its potential for destruction (see Proverbs 10:19–20, 31; 15:2, 4).
James 3:13–18 turns the readers’ attention to wisdom and matters of the heart: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth” (v. 14). The characteristics of earthly or demonic “wisdom” in verses 15–16—envy, selfish ambition, disorder, evil practices—are contrasted with the virtuous qualities of true wisdom from God, which is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, merciful, impartial, and sincere (v. 17). The importance of wisdom can also be seen in Proverbs 1:7; 3:13–18; 4:6–7; 14:8; and 29:11.