Blessed are the Peacemakers (Not the Peacekeepers)


I loathe conflict.

Where there is disagreement, tension or an argument, you can find me sprinting in the opposite direction.

Maybe you’re like me and you wish everyone could get along, go with the flow, and keep conflict at bay. Wouldn’t that make life so much easier?

This desire to keep the peace is not bad in and of itself. Afterall, Jesus says “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt 5:9) right?


But oftentimes we confuse a peacemaker with a peacekeeper.

A peacemaker is someone who is willing to resolve both outer and inner turmoil in order to establish peace with others and within themselves. Inevitably, peacemaking will require engaging in conflict and tension to help bring the situation to a solid place. A peacekeeper, on the other hand, desires to maintain peace by avoiding conflict. They typically give in to the tension or steer clear of disagreement to keep others happy. Peacekeepers hate rocking the boat; therefore, they will sacrifice their own inner peace to maintain the “facade” of peace with others.

Peacekeepers may look like peacemakers, but only one group is experiencing true peace.

Following the Example of the Prince of Peace

Jesus is the greatest example of a peacemaker– He was even given the name “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus is the ultimate mediator who made peace between God and man and between people groups.

Yet, from the outside looking in, one might argue that Jesus’ life was anything but peaceful. Jesus was constantly engaging in conflict whether it was through challenging the religious leader’s beliefs, confronting sin, questioning the disciples, and preaching despite persecution. However, through this tension, Jesus was able to set people free, show them the true Way, and save their lives by being willing to rock the boat to give a lasting peace.

I’m not gonna lie–Jesus’ version of making peace looks drastically different from mine. And that needs to change. Maybe yours does too.

Though our conflicts may not look the same as his, this remains true:

We cannot be true “peacemakers” by avoiding conflict, honesty and tense situations.

Instead, we must refute the lies we’ve learned about conflict and learn how to MAKE peace instead of just KEEP it.

Here are 3 key truths peacekeepers must realize:

#1. Honesty Breeds Harmony

Let’s be real: honesty is hard for a peacekeeper. Not because they don’t have opinions or feelings, but because they don’t know how other people will receive them. Out of fear of someone disagreeing or getting offended, peacekeepers will disregard their own thoughts to go along with someone else’s.

The truth? There will always be a risk of disagreement when you share your thoughts, ideas, feelings, exc. However, there is also the chance that your honesty with someone else will be of great value to them. Being truly honest allows your words to encourage, challenge and give insight to another. It also creates space for us to learn through someone else’s differing thoughts.

Your honesty can also help others find harmony in their lives. Suppose a friend is in a rough situation. You can see the problem but you’re afraid they might get offended if you tell them. You can either pat them on the back and be about their feelings by not being honest with them, or you can be about their freedom by letting them know what you see and how it’s affecting them.


#2. Disagreement Doesn’t Have to Equal Disrespect

We all know those people who will argue about anything. Hop on Facebook for five minutes and you’ll be sure to find a degrading argument happening on someone’s page. Believe it or not, there IS a way to confront or disagree with someone without the conversation getting ugly.

There is a special tension to be held in the midst of disagreement: the tension of truth and love. This tension involves speaking honestly about what you believe to be true while still giving value to the other person AND to what they are saying.

In Ephesians 4:15, Paul says this to the believers in Ephesus:

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Oftentimes, we want to operate from either true OR love, but the power is in the tension. (tweet) We must have the boldness to be honest about the truth and the maturity to be attentive instead of defensive.

Oftentimes, we want to operate out of truth OR love, but the power is in the tension. Click To Tweet

#3. Peacekeeping is Passive–Peacemaking is Proactive

As mentioned before, keeping the peace tends to look like letting things slide and turning a blind eye for the sake of avoiding confrontation. While this may seem harmless, this type of passivity can eventually become a breeding ground for injustice, festering wounds of bitterness, and relational breakdown. There’s a time to let things go, but there is also a time to speak up and take action.

Making peace looks like actively reconciling, conversing and struggling with oneself or another to reach peace. It’s proactively working through conflict to come to TRUE resolve. While not every conflict results in both parties agreeing, most of the time, two parties can peacefully agree to disagree while still respecting and honoring the other.

A Peacemaking Lifestyle

In Romans 12:18 , Paul reminds believers:

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Paul’s words confirm it IS a worthy desire to promote peace and strive to reach it in our relationships. The key is–we must remember to go about reaching peace the right way.

As recovering peacekeepers, let’s remember these three things:

  1. Your voice, opinions, convictions and beliefs matter.
  2. You are capable of speaking the truth and even disagreeing in love
  3. Listen to the Holy Spirit in those moments when it’s time to speak up

May we aim to live our lives actively making peace, instead of just trying to keep it.


  1. Southern Simple Blessed

    Thank you, thank you for this. I’ve learned something today. I’ve never thought about the difference between the two. I really needed this. I’m saving to read again when I need it. Bless you!!

    02 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      Of course! I’m so glad it encouraged you! ❤️❤️

      02 . May . 2018
  2. helloredds

    This is a wonderful post!
    I hate conflict as well, but I’m learning about the importance of speaking the truth in love.
    Thanks for the encouragement to relate more honestly.
    I’m sharing your post today~

    02 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      Thank you so much! ❤️

      02 . May . 2018
  3. Diana

    I dislike conflict and go into silent mode. The difference between peacemaker and peacekeeper is thoroughly explained here, and I am going to pin this one and save so that I can come back and reflect more on it.

    02 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      Yes, me too Diana!

      02 . May . 2018
  4. displayinggrace

    Love this my friend!

    02 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      Thank you Michelle!! ❤️❤️❤️

      02 . May . 2018
  5. Helene

    Amen! I’d rather keep peace than do the confrontation, truth-telling and hard work of reconciliation! Thanks for the encouragement!

    02 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      Helene, you and me both! It’s hard work!! You’re sure welcome!

      02 . May . 2018
  6. Christa Sterken

    I really loved this post, and so appreciate your perspective. This is something is has taken me YEARS to learn and put into practice, but is the best investment of time and effort!

    02 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      Christa, I’m so glad to hear that it IS possible to live this out when we really work at it like you have! Thank you so much ❤️❤️

      02 . May . 2018
  7. Sydney Meek

    I love this! I am usually the one to run away from conflict as well. Throughout my marriage I’ve seen this arise so many times, and realized I needed to do exactly what you’ve described, but I’ve never though of it as being a “peacemaker.” I love that. Thanks for sharing this sweet truth!

    Sydney Meek |

    02 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      I’m the same way!!
      You’re so welcome!

      02 . May . 2018
  8. Rachel Chamberlayne

    This post is so anointed, Kaitlin! I’m the same way; I am probably more of a peacekeeper than a true peacemaker. I’ve always known that being passive for the sake of avoiding confrontation, an argument, or even small awkward disagreements didn’t feel quite right; Jesus wouldn’t have been silent if something said or done blasphemed God or went against the Word so who am I kidding if I do that? Thank you for the beautiful post; I never would have thought about it in this way! Amen and may God continue to bless the words you share!


    03 . May . 2018
    • Kaitlin

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!

      03 . May . 2018
  9. MLK DAY – Beutiflee

    […] A peacemaker is someone who is willing to resolve both outer and inner turmoil in order to establish peace with others and within themselves. … A peacekeeper, on the other hand, desires to maintain peace by avoiding conflict. They typically give in to the tension or steer clear of disagreement to keep others happy.  -Kaitlin, from “The Barefoot Blog” […]

    21 . Jan . 2019
  10. Jack

    May this be used to minister without charge or fee?

    11 . Aug . 2019
  11. Kenyatta

    Thanks Kaitlin for this post. I was wrestling in prayer over this very thought because I strive to be a peacemaker in a family of destructive confrontational people who try to force me to be a peacekeeper and belittle and criticize me for attempting to be a peacemaker. This post has encouraged me that I am not wrong with my behaviors… my family of origin just doesn’t understand that peace doesn’t equal always agreeing with them, relenting to them or turning a blind eye to their behaviors. Yet, I’m trying to balance my mindset and stir clear of self righteous or unrighteously judge them which is where my tension lies

    27 . Nov . 2019
    • Kaitlin

      Wow, that is so tough! That is so awesome that you are learning to live in the balance of these two things, because it’s hard to live in the tension. I’m sure the more you navigate these waters and wrestle with it, you will have wisdom in each situation to know what to do. Thanks for sharing!

      01 . Dec . 2019
  12. Rachel

    This is exactly what I needed today!! We have been going through a really tough time with some family members who take offense every time we try to be honest or disagree with them on something. This is article really spells out what I knew but couldn’t put into words. Thank you so much for this wonderful article full of wisdom and insight!!

    26 . Feb . 2020
  13. Paul

    As a police officer- Matthew 5:9 is probably the most cliched and mis-quoted to explain my job. On it’s surface, it is spot on, we wade into danger and keep the peace. But I started a 5-week series on the Sermon on the Mount the other night and our pastor brought up the “peacemaker vs peacekeeper” aspect in our lives. I’d never thought of it in that way, and given the conflict of the past 10 days, I wanted to know more.
    I loved your blog (thanks google!) I see where I’ve been a peacekeeper to avoid office conflict and home conflict. It’s easy to be a peace maker in other people’s crises. Thank you for writing this, I’ll be saving it for future reference as I struggle to live a Peacemaker life daily whether I’m at work or with my family.

    05 . Jun . 2020

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