What a heavy month it’s been: murder, riots, racism, pandemic confusion, & thousands of Facebook arguments… It’s been a month of seeing hatred and division. Hatred based on race, profession, mask-opinion, political stance… the list goes on and on. It feels like everyone has an ENEMY and disdain is running rampant.
As Christians, how do we sort this out? How do we address these valid issues with love, unity, and Truth? How do we balance justice with brotherly love & peace?
These are the questions I’ve been wrestling with. These are the questions I’ve seen many of my friends & acquaintances wrestling with as well.
The “answer” that God has impressed on my heart is LOVE. God’s character & His Word should be the basis of our response. We know that God is BOTH loving & just. He is both merciful & stands for the Truth. He cultivates PEACE.
Sometimes in our earthly existence, true peace can only be attained through healthy conflict & relationships.
There is a distinction between peacekeepers, peacebreakers, and peaceMAKERS:
Peacekeepers avoid conflict at all costs, even when faced with injustice or toxicity. Although it can be so easy to look the other way & ignore injustice because it’s uncomfortable, where injustice exists, peace cannot. Peacekeepers don’t set healthy boundaries, but flee from conflict even at a detriment to themselves and others. This enables issues to continue and cultivates a breeding ground for tension and passive aggression.
Peacebreakers, on the other hand, are people who stir up tension, create division, and respond with destructive actions. This is the other end of the spectrum. These actions destroy peace, sow mistrust, and heighten fear. When we turn a group of people into the “enemy” that must be subdued, we demonize sinners just like us, people made in the image of God that are DEEPLY LOVED by our Father. This cultivates division, not peace.
Instead, we are called to be peaceMAKERS. This does not mean an absence of conflict. But we must ultimately seek peace and seek it in a CONSTRUCTIVE way. Actively, constructively, & LOVINGLY working to cultivate peace one day, one act, one prayer at a time. Sometimes being a peacemaker means having hard conversations, setting boundaries, and speaking the Truth (even when it’s unpopular). Being a peacemaker is bringing God into a situation and seeking to love the people involved as God has loved us. This and this alone cultivates peace.
This is applicable BOTH in personal relationships and in the public sphere in our reaction to systemic issues. I personally have fallen into the trap on both sides of this spectrum. I tend to be a peacekeeper, but sometimes I over-correct & become a peacebreaker. I pray (especially in this turbulent time) that God would continue to transform me through His Word and use me as a peaceMAKER to spread His love.
How can we become peaceMAKERS? Through awareness, reading God’s Living Word, doing the difficult task of self-examination, & prayer (lots of prayer!).
Which side of the spectrum do you tend to fall on? How can you move toward becoming a peaceMAKER?