Several years ago, one of my former professors called Joleen and I "peacemakers." I’m not really sure what he saw in us, but I do remember one time when I was about 11 years old. My family was getting ready to move out of California. Me, my sister, and three of my cousins were visiting my grandparents in Pismo Beach, CA (where my granddad was serving as a pastor).
While we were there, we played baseball in a sandlot with some other kids from the neighborhood. While I don’t remember the details, there was some sort of dispute that broke up the game. I don’t remember what I said exactly, but I somehow orchestrated some kind of peace agreement with the factions, and we continued playing (incidentally, I didn’t particularly care about each one’s personal happiness; I just wanted to play the game!).
However, I still struggle with the tension between peacekeeping and peacemaking.
Here’s my point …
Peacekeepers want to make everyone happy; peacemakers want to make everyone healthy!
Peacekeepers want to maintain the status quo, they don’t want to stir the water or rock the boat. But peacemakers know that sometimes you have to stir things up in order to reach resolution.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. (Matthew 5.9)
So, what do we do?
I want to encourage you to address a broken relationship this week. Don’t try to make others happy, seek healthy resolution and restoration.
To do that, you may need to stir the pot! One of the few things I remember from college chemistry lab was that stirring water causes the water to heat faster (as molecules are knocked against each other).
There’s a line from the movie "Runaway Bride," where the bride (played by Julia Roberts), at one point, searches for a word to call the reporter (who’s writing about her tendency to run away from weddings), and she comes up with "pot stirrer." While she meant it as a slam, it’s a great word for peacemakers! In fact, Jesus was the master pot-stirrer! (If Jesus simply would not have stir the pot on the sabbath, perhaps he could have had a long, prosperous career as a rabbi!)
This week’s challenge
Is there someone with whom you have a broken relationship? I challenge you this week to do something about it. Pick up the phone or stop by for a visit. Take a step toward health and resolution, and making peace with that person.
My hope and prayer is that we will be a community of peacemakers, not peacekeepers! Peacekeepers want to make everyone happy; peacemakers want to make everyone healthy!
O God, thank you for the peace we have with you through Jesus Christ, a peace that passes all understanding. Help us to take your peace and share it with our families, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors. Help us to be peacemakers, not peacekeepers!