What Is a Peacemaker?

During this time of uncertainty, magnified fear and suspicion of people from different cultures and religions added to the fear of political changes that may or may not affect our future adversely; it may be difficult to be at peace, find peace, or even make peace. What is the difference in these three activities? Is being a peacemaker, having peace or making peace? Or is it a combination of several behaviors or attributes?

Peacemaking as a Child

From my early childhood I heard in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” I was inspired to be a peacemaker.

I tried to be kind, thoughtful, and empathetic when someone was having a bad day or was grumpy. I tried to be compassionate and understand their behavior as being due to stress, sadness, emotional pain, or some other factor. Usually I felt like I was advancing my goal by at least promoting peace. Was this being a peacemaker?

Peacemaking As a Nurse

Being a nurse I understood that illness can cause people to act quite differently than they would normally. Peacemaking as a nurse sometimes involved extending empathy and compassion to those who were stressed or anxious.

Since patients were sometimes upset about something usually beyond their control. I encouraged them to discuss what was bothering them and either help them understand the circumstances and the “whys” of the subject. Or I encouraged them to speak with a chaplain or supervisor to “promote peace.”

Peacemaking as a Wife

When I married my husband I continued in my efforts to be a peacemaker. When I said something that upset him I apologized. When he was tired and irritable from stresses from work, his studies, or whatever, I tried to “tip toe around him” to avoid adding more irritants to his overloaded senses. Was this being a peacemaker?

What is Peace, Peacemaking?

Most of us have an understanding of peace as: tranquility, absence of war, quiet, harmony, non-violence. What do you think of the following definitions?

One definition of peace.
One definition of peace.

Black Elk, a holy man of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota lived from 1863 to 1950. He spoke of peace in ways similar to the Christian Bible verse seen below it.

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:22-23,But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

So How Do We Make Peace?

Saint Francis of Assisi wrote this prayer which I think gives us the path to being peacemakers.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Peace For the Earth

This song to me sums beautifully how we can be peacemakers in the world. I learned this song as a teenager and have always loved it. This and the above quotes only scratch the surface of how to be a peacemaker, but we all start somewhere when we are learning how to do something very important. Peace of our minds, our lives, our souls, our homes, cities, countries and world should be a goal for everyone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icx7cDBuyNc

Here are the words (in case you don’t have time to listen to the video.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be

With God as our father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony

Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now
With every step I take
Let this be my solemn vow

To take each moment
And live each moment
In peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me


4 thoughts on “What Is a Peacemaker?

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