My daughter: “Mom, what do you want for your birthday?”
Me: “World peace.”
Eye roll from daughter: “You say that every year!”
Me: “Because I want it every year.”
She bought me a snow globe with “World Peace” inscribed on the base.
World peace is and always has been on my want-list. Our global community, however, struggles with creating a non-violent world. Refugees, loss of life, and starvation escalate with every conflict.
We struggle also with peacemaking in our own neighborhoods. Barking dogs, exterior house paint, and disorderly gardens become the unlikely source of community battles. These disputes birthed the adult version of the Principal’s office: the Homeowners Association.
Consider our own families. Angry words and hurt feelings fracture relationships every day. In addition, unresolved conflicts simmer silently among family members. A tiny spark of resentment or jealousy or misunderstanding explodes the precarious peace… usually at a holiday dinner. We canNOT get along!
Nevertheless, we are called to be peacemakers.
Being a peacemaker is high on the attribute list of being a Christ-follower. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). Peace and reconciliation were His constant message. His final prayer for us in the Garden of Gethsemene focused on our ability to live together in unity (John 17:20-24). Paul further exhorted us to “make every effort to do what leads to peace” (Romans 14:19). Over and over, we hear the call toward peace with one another.
So…how do we become bearers of peace? Become a bridge builder.
With grace and wisdom, bridge builders connect people and nations who are in conflict. Mother Teresa connected personal and global resources with the poor in India. Martin Luther King Jr. connected the African-American population with their rights under the U.S. Constitution. Jesus’ incarnation was the ultimate in peacemaking. He bridged and restored our broken relationship with God when He entered into the thick of human existence.
Biblical peacemaking demands action. As uncomfortable as it may be, we need to be willing to step into the conflicts. When family or friends struggle with one another, for example, offer to mediate a new dialogue. Paul pleaded with the believers in Philippi to step in and help Euodia and Syntyche overcome their argument (Philippians 4:2-3).
Pacifists who declare “live and let live” are not peacemakers. Their withdrawal may bring personal peace through non-involvement but it is temporary and shortsighted. Become a bridge builder instead.
Be courageous and become the agent of peace in your family, neighborhood, church, nation, and the world! Love others by being a peacemaker.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” ~Saint Francis
Practical Tips and Tools
Pray for peace as you read or hear today’s news reports. How might you get involved?
Consider the relationships in your life. Where conflict exists, pray about offering your help. Read How to Resolve Conflicts to help in your peacemaking efforts.
Explore the Restorative Justice movement. If you sense the Lord leading you deeper into bridge building, consider becoming active with the transformational work of RJ. They work with victims, offenders and communities to bring recovery from crime.