Monday, July 18, 2011


A "peacemaker" is one who seeks to bring harmony and reconciliation between those who are estranged. Peacemaking seeks to produce right relationships between persons.

Decent people despise those who sow discord and stir up trouble. Yet every community and every local house of worship and many homes have people who thrive on divisions and conflict and unrest.
Holding grudges and evil speaking are common sources of conflict among people. Busybodies and slanderers and disagreeable persons can cause havoc in society.
Peacemakers are needed in our homes. Quarreling and disagreements and unwillingness to respect the order of authority, often lead people to treat the worst those who really love them the most -- intimate family members.
We must begin with a proper understanding of what is included in this key word. The Greek word for "peace" ("eirene") is a beautiful word, full of meaning. The word is a picture-word, calling to mind specific mental images when heard. The word means tranquility, and is used to describe a boat sailing on a calm sea. It means harmony and describes a song in which all notes and cords blend in perfect agreement. And it conveys the idea of an absence of strife, calling to mind two people walking hand-in-hand along the road. (Our English word "peace" comes to us from the Latin "pax" from which we derive "pact." A pact is a treaty between two parties/governments).
The Hebrew equivalent is the word "shalom." This word is also rich in meaning and was, for the Jew, the common word of greeting. It means all of what the above Greek word means, yet adds another aspect. Not only does shalom convey the negative -- the absence of strife and evil -- but also the positive, the presence of all good things. To wish shalom on another was in essence to say, "I wish for you not only the absence of all that may harm, but also the presence of everything that makes for a person's good." No hostilities.
From the above definitions we see that the word "peace" has to do with the state of harmony, tranquility, and unity as it exists between two parties.
However ignoring reality is not peace. True peace never evades the issues, but rather deals with them, building the right bridges and moving through the pain until harmony is established.
For still others, peace is sought at the expense of truth. Peace is paramount and it is "peace at any price." Most persons want to avoid needless strife, but there are times when standing for the truth will stir up strife. Sometimes the way to lasting peace includes addressing issues which will be painful to work through. Truth and righteousness are just as important as peace, and these factors cannot be compromised.
Notice at the start that the promise of this article is to the "peacemaker" and not to the "peace lover." Passivity is not the answer; activity is. "Peacemaking" is an action word, implying that the decent human being' is to be busy making peace in this world. There are many who love peace and few who work for it. (It should be noted here that we are not condoning a peace activism which ignores other important human principles).
The call to peacemaking implies the presence of contention. Indeed the world today is full of conflict and strife. What is the cause of this hostility? In order to know how to go about establishing peace, we need first to know something about why individuals are at odds with themselves. (Understanding the problem is half the answer).
People are at war with their neighbors because they are not at peace with themselves. And they are not at peace with themselves because they are at war with their conscience.
We should promote the quest for inner peace and tranquility.

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