Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Peacemaking is not passive acquiescence to every point of view.
When I make peace (or when I seek to make peace), I do not avoid, but rather step up and stand squarely on the stage of conflict.
My conscious purpose? To bridge divisions among people.
How? Primarily, by reminding us of our common dignity as created by God or, non-theologically, yet indisputably biologically, our common humanity.
And, in this, reminding us of our destiny: We either live together in peace or die together in turmoil. Or, in the terse words of Martin Luther King, Jr., when outlining a critical issue in bringing an end to racial segregation: “(We must) rise above the confines of individual concerns and develop a world perspective…We must live together as brothers or perish as fools.”
And, as I reflect on my efforts at peacemaking, I have discovered a mystery, that is, a riddle that I cannot resolve by my human reason, yet something repeatedly proven to me as true, real.
Though I am woefully incapable of describing it adequately (and, as a self-professed “word-guy,” it rankles me when I cannot articulate something clearly!), I perceive hints of this mystery in Jesus’ instruction to his disciples in sending them out on a mission journey: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.”(1)
Peace (oneness, wholeness) with God, is something that I can give to others only when I receive it from God. The mystery is that peace with God also is something I can keep precisely because I give it away; for in offering it, it grows, encompassing both me and the one with whom I’ve shared it. And, when I seek to make peace with another and if that other person does not receive that peace, it is not destroyed, but rather returns to me to give unto another.
A peacemaker, one who receives oneness, wholeness from God, and then, faithfully, freely replicates God’s action by giving that peace away, is God’s child.
(1) Luke 10.5-6