The Tough Business of Making Peace
United Kingdom Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain may have been a man of great accomplishment; yet, history remembers him for a most ironic statement: “Peace for our time.” Chamberlain uttered the infamous words after returning from Germany, after signing a non-aggression pact with that nation’s leader, Adolf Hitler. Though Chamberlain believed this would keep his nation from war, less than a year later battles were underway with Nazi Germany. The policy of appeasement had failed.
Many, including Christians, sometimes have a greatly distorted view of peace. Whether it is appeasing an enemy by granting foolish requests or simply choosing to sit when a stand for what is right should be taken, peace is viewed in terms of not “rocking the boat.” In writing about such an attitude, Marc Levecci stated,
“Far too often, the Christian understanding of peace has withered. Overly spiritualized, peace is predominately identified as an inner feeling of serenity. The muscularity of the injunction to be a peacemaker has atrophied. Rendered maudlin, peacemaking is sanitized of anything deemed morally uncomfortable, including the necessity of the peacemaker to stand in judgment.”
When Jesus delivered His great Sermon on the Mount and proclaimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” did He envision a group of people who weakly stand on the sidelines, refusing to become involved? Hardly! Peacemaking is the willingness to become involved in situations that offer no personal benefit to the peacemaker. Sometimes it is necessary, though unpopular, to point out another’s wrong and seek to help the one in error realign with the Lord’s standards. This was the action of Aquila and Priscilla when they found Apollos lacked full knowledge of the gospel message (see Acts 18:24-26). Sometimes it is the willingness to get squarely involved in the conflicts of others and provide the voice of godliness that will mend a broken relationship. Paul’s “true companion” was asked by the apostle to interject himself into the midst of a struggle between Euodia and Syntyche in order to help them “agree in the Lord” for this very reason (Philippians 4:2-3).
If one is a son of God, one is a peacemaker; there is no being one without the other. Christians must humbly submit to God’s desire, pray fervently, and bolster their courage to be the peacemakers God desires. While the short term consequences may be unpleasant, the long term blessings may help others find their way back to the God of peace.