Jesus promised those who follow Him “life in all its fullness” – and we, in turn, seek to help bring this to others. In Christian thought, “peace” is far more than the absence of conflict – it is a holistic concept of the fulness of everything our Father purposes for us.
“Making peace”, then, will include the resolution of conflict – but also much more. Peacemakers seek both to heal and to build relationships that reflect our Father’s love for all – irrespective of the prejudices regarding race, gender, class, faith or sexual identity that can divide us.
This will start personally; but then, directed by the Holy Spirit, expand through our church communities and nation towards the whole of God’s creation. It will involve prayer, action, sacrifice, vulnerability, advocacy, politics and persuasion – as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”
Matthew 5:9, The Message.
This habit is grown in our hearts by the Holy Spirit – but needs to be pursued by the exercise of the will. It requires the intentional vulnerability, and the refusal to react with self-defence, that Jesus models for us.
- Seek to listen more – both to people, and to the Spirit – before responding or reacting.
- Challenge your own views, in order to identify and root out prejudice and judgement. Choose to explore perspectives that differ from your own – political, religious, ethical and cultural.
- Remember that in order to step into peace-making, you will need first to understand the points of view that are in conflict.
- It will usually be more effective to explore possible scenarios than to offer advice.