Do you crave peace? I do. Do you live in competitive harmony? When was the last time you heard those two words together? The planet Earth boasts a population of roughly 7 billion people, uniquely themselves, commonly human. With all those personalities, is it any wonder there are just a few differences of opinion? Ya think? There are ceaseless opportunities for conflict, meaning there are just as many parallel opportunities for agreement. What goes up … must come down.
Have you ever been dragged into a conflict? Not that you intended to get involved, but somehow there you were engulfed in strife. It’s a tough place to be, especially if you are a peace lover and avoid competition and conflict. Herein lays the test – peacekeeper or peacemaker. There’s a difference and peacemaker wins.
Peacekeepers are reluctant participants in conflict most often agreeing with all sides of the conflict to keep the situation hopefully balanced. They take a diminutive role, even when speaking up. To keep the peace they acquiesce and concede their opinion even if it could influence a better decision with positive, lasting results. While the peacekeeper is present, conflicts may settle down and individuals may be pacified, but the effects don’t persist. There is tolerance, but no transformation.
Peacemakers are not fond of conflict either but they approach it with confidence, wisdom, and with motives that seek resolution. Peacemakers strive to prevent contention, angry arguments, and unfair treatment of situations and people. Peacemakers use their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to prevent dangerous infighting. We all know about the beatitudes. Notice that in Matthew 5:9 there is no reference to peacekeepers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Peacemakers … they don’t just keep the peace, they live it, they make it happen. It’s OK to speak out with right motives. Acts 18:9 “One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”
When we find ourselves in conflict, let’s not settle when we know the better choice is to speak up with confidence for what we know is right. Let’s not conform to group-think when we know that thinking is unproductive and wrong. Do you know that Romans 12:2 has something to say about group-think? “Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Be not conformed is another way of saying, don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold; and renew your mind, don’t be trapped by old ways of thinking.
Next time you get pulled into conflict, contemplate your best reaction. Share your perspectives and insights boldly, without hesitation because you are a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper. As it turns out, enthusiasm for living peaceably was a trait evident in the lives of people back in the year 52 A.D. In 2 Corinthians 7:13-16 Paul recounts the attitudes of people who had been through complicated circumstances. “[After all that happened] we felt great about it. We were exuberant over your response—our joy doubled. We were revived and refreshed at everything you did. I [Paul] am not exaggerating! Titus saw for himself that everything I had said about you was true. He can’t quit talking about it, going over again and again the story of your prompt obedience, and the dignity and sensitivity of your hospitality. I couldn’t be more pleased—I’m so confident and proud of you.”
I read that and immediately thought, “I want that! I want to live in peace. I want to be a peacemaker.” How about you?
Here are 10,000 reasons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jYLTn4fKYQ