There are those rare magical people out there…
They seem to radiate calm, and generate hope, and leave people around them generally better than they found them.
And then there’s the rest of us. 🙂
Most of us would like to be Peacemakers . In fact, most of us try, with various levels of success.
Problem is, we sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot by trying the wrong things.
And so, without further ado…
Here are four examples of peacemaking techniques that don’t work.
#1. PEACE BY FORCE
Every parent knows this: Yelling at your kids for peace and quiet may generate some quiet, but it doesn’t truly create peace.
You can’t make anybody do or feel something they’re not willing to do or feel.
When Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers”, he didn’t mean people who tried to force peace down other people’s throats.
INSTEAD: Don’t force it, create it! Being a peacemaker means creating an environment of peace that emanates from within.
#2. Peace FAKING
Some groups, especially families, learn to tip toe around each other rather than talk. People learn to push down their emotions rather than dealing with them.
It’s a little like being co-dependent. People pretend — even alter their behavior — to keep a false sense of harmony.
It doesn’t work! When people push down or fake emotions too long, they will explode.
INSTEAD: There’s a difference between faking peace and seeking it. Perfect peace may be a rare thing to achieve, but being authentic and intentional will take you far.
#3. Denying Peace
Some people grew up in chaotic environments. Lots of conflict, maybe abuse and pain. Others lose their way as they grow older and find themselves living in constant turmoil.
When that happens, it’s easy to think peace is an illusion, never attainable. Or you might think you don’t deserve it. And so you throw yourself to the mercy of the storms of life, trying to be at “peace” with the idea of having no peace.
If you feel this way, I need you to know something: Christ’s love and peace are meant for you as much as any other person on the planet.
INSTEAD: Believing that you (even you) are worthy of God’s love is a big step. And maybe not an easy one to take alone. You might talk to a pastor or a counselor. You can have peace in your time. It’s an important goal to work towards.
#4. Peace Through Distance
Your family is in St. Louis. You moved to Kansas City. Why?
To get away from the chaos! Maybe the family you grew up with drove you crazy. Fighting, conflict, a lack of trust, etc.
So you head to another town, another state. Somewhere far away where the craziness can’t touch you. Peace through distance.
This doesn’t work either. Oh sure, you may not have to see these people, or talk to them every day, but chances are they haunt you. You hear your dad’s voice in the back of your head telling you you’re irresponsible. You feel all the emotions of a fight with your sister even though you’re just fighting with yourself.
INSTEAD: Distance doesn’t bring peace, but you know what does? Learning to be together but separate. It’s finding that healthy balance where you retain your own soul, but are willing to engage with others. You’ll probably never resolve all those issues, but you may learn to find peace on your own terms.
The Real Deal
The apostle Paul says it so well in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
In other words, with the grace of God through Christ, you can be in charge of making your own peace. And when the situation allows it, you can share peace with others.
When he says it like that, it seems so easy.
I don’t know about you, but I want the real deal. Not some imperfect facsimile of peace.
I want the kind of peace that passeth understanding…
But I’ll admit I’m still trying to understand
exactly what that looks like. 🙂
Have a good week,
P.S. I put out spiritual art every day via http://AdventureChristianity.com. Subscribe there to receive them in your email, or click the Facebook link and add them to your feed.