Monday, November 07, 2005

Blessed are the peacemakers

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16)

I was studying up on peace tonight and I noticed that there's quite a bit of condemnation for those who proclaim peace when there is no peace. A false proclamation of peace misleads the people, giving false hope instead of true. This quote in particular reminded me of the whitewashing of the news out of France: "They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say; but there is no peace." (Jeremiah 6:14; repeated Jeremiah 8:11, and similar things by some of the other prophets).

And if you already have peace, there is no need for the courage and strength of a peacemaker. Neither is a peacemaker an appeasement-maker; big difference there. Appeasement is "peace" through surrender or by allowing violence to rule the decision; that kind of "peace" will always be precarious, at risk of falling again. Sustained peace requires strength. It also requires parties who all want peace; that remains to be seen in the case of France.

What then is there for us to do while we wait for the final peace?
"Do not plot evil against your neighbor" (Zechariah 8:17)
"Love truth and peace" (Zechariah 8:19)
"Make every effort to live in peace with all men" (Hebrews 12:14)
"The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving" (James 3:17)

This is not to confuse peace with pacifism; sometimes use of force is necessary to restore peace and safety, as seems to be the case now.

I've read a few alarmist posts around the 'net in the wake of the French riots, and I've read some minimalist posts. Both sides agree that the problems in France have run deep for a long time; both sides acknowledge that there may not be an easy solution. Jesus blesses peacemakers in the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God." Those blessings are generally not pronounced on any easy path.

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