This post is part of my series for Write 31 Days (writing on a prompt every day during the month of October). I may not be posting on the blog every day, but you can find an index page where all the posts in the series will be added here. The prompt today is “peace.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
For a long time, I thought that working for peace meant staying quiet – withdrawing from conflict, brushing aside whatever was bothering me, ignoring my own feelings and opinions to appease someone else, doing anything to avoid rocking the boat.
It seemed like the nice thing to do, even the Christian thing to do.
But then I realised that it is not really peacemaking, but peacekeeping. It can help maintain a superficial, external kind of peace, but it doesn’t make real peace.
It certainly doesn’t bring you internal peace if you’re constantly denying your feelings and opinions, and the danger is it can cause resentment to build up, which can explode into even greater conflict.
So, what does it mean to make peace rather than to keep peace?
I’m no expert, but I think it means having the difficult conversations rather than avoiding them; it means being honest; it means speaking the truth in love, but also being willing to listen to a different perspective.
It means working for reconciliation.
It’s not an easy option, but I think it is the way to a more genuine peace.
It also means being willing to do our part, while accepting that peace is not always possible. Paul writes in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
We can’t control others’ responses, and we are not responsible for them, but if we take the steps we can towards making peace, we are reflecting the love of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who took the most radical steps of all to help us find peace.
“For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body.” (Colossians 1:19-22 NLT)