I was a chronic peacekeeper as a child. If my siblings got in trouble, I did my best to convince my parents they could spank me instead, just because I thought it’d keep the peace. It never worked (good parenting, Mom and Dad), but that didn’t stop me from trying. I hated conflict. I hated tension. Confrontation was the second level of hell in my mind.
In Matthew 5, Christ speaks to the multitudes when he says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Not peacekeepers. Peacemakers. So, what’s the difference? Why does it matter?
I’ve spent the last five years realizing the difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking. Peacekeeping appeases emotions and ignores sin. Peacemaking addresses emotions, lets them exist, but brings sin to the light in a loving way.
Peacekeeping can literally exist within a lie — as long as things appear good, they are. Sweep hatred, lies, anger, and hurt under the rug. (Smile, Sweetheart, you’ll be okay.) Peacemaking allows for the tension of making things right, even if it takes weeks, months, years or decades and seasons of silence from the other party.
Peacekeeping protects our reality and saves us from needing to make changes. Peacemaking breaks our reality to make it more like the Christ we say we serve and want to honor.
Peacekeeping let’s hurt fester. Peacemaking confronts in love and actively seeks restoration instead of only giving it lip-service.
Just like when I was a kid, peacekeeping only serves our conscience. I tried to make bad situations better, but it would have only made it better on the surface; so no change was made.
What are you? A peacekeeper or a peacemaker? Do we as Christians have what it takes to be a peacemaker in a world which only wants peacekeepers?