Active, healing peacemaking
Our ability to be peacemakers comes from turning to God, the source of peace, and letting divine Love guide our footsteps toward practical solutions. This God-given peace begins within each heart, overflows to the world, and is lasting and all-inclusive.
In light of the division, mistrust, and war that currently dominate the headlines, it’s natural for people to be thinking much more now about the deep need for peace in our world today. Sometimes it can seem as though conflict owns all the activity while peace is a passive hope.
But making peace is a healing activity that expresses God and is blessed by God, according to one of several of the Beatitudes shared by Christ Jesus. He said: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
I learned about peacemaking when I was a boy, when I would try to break up fights and help people become friends again. I saw that this was something important to do, but I only had mixed results. Eventually I learned that well-meaning human effort isn’t enough. I found that what is needed is a spiritual response, the action of God at work in human thought. That truly pacifies and enlightens.
God conceives peace as a quality that isn’t fleeting or unstable but unbreakable and lasting, expressed in each of us as His spiritual offspring. In any moment, we can choose to acknowledge this divine peace as the reality and feel it counteract concern and frustration. Within the precinct of thought, we can establish a love for spiritual peace, and as this view of peace becomes fixed in us, it then overflows into the world.
As the children of God, divine Love, we can both feel and express the great peace given to us by our creator, as we confront the stresses of daily living. The Bible says that God is here, “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
God’s boundless peace, lived and loved, may begin in an individual as just a tiny light, but that light can grow to embrace others and envelop and enlighten the earth. Effective prayer is being open for God to guide us solidly “into the way of peace.” Hand in hand with this God-given peace comes resolution. A simple cease-fire that doesn’t address and resolve strife isn’t really peace; it’s just a muted interval between aggressive actions. Peace, to be genuine and enduring, must encompass everyone fairly and logically. Only the power of God, acknowledged and honored, engenders that kind of peace.
In a neighborhood where I used to live, there developed a growing conflict with an adjacent group of neighbors. The issue was water rights. Between suits and countersuits, we enjoyed some quiet times. But those intervals didn’t mean that everyone was at peace, as the issue remained unresolved.
As I prayed for resolution, I soon realized that this was an opportunity to be something of the kind of peacemaker that Jesus was talking about. I saw that, not just for the members of the two neighborhoods, but for the world, our deep hunger for peace and resolution is fed when individuals pause in prayer, yielding to the governing power and intelligence of God to direct our thoughts and actions.
As time went on, I began to appreciate more and more the ways God’s peace is reflected in His creation. People on both sides continued to have negative feelings about one another, but I was so taken up with praying to see God’s wonderful expression of peace reflected in all His creation that I stopped being distracted by the negativity.
As each month went by, I more consistently recognized the peaceful oneness we all naturally have with God, in which no one is excluded. My days overflowed with a joy for it all. Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy, in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” comments how this approach to prayer operates to heal. She says, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; ...” (p. 340).
One day, the whole issue was suddenly resolved amicably. Everyone agreed on a logical and fair way forward. This experience of praying for peace was a modest one, but it hints with promise at how each of us can magnify in our thoughts the spiritual peace that God gracefully emanates within each of His children.
Active, healing peacemaking, the kind of peacemaking that witnesses unreservedly to God’s power, is naturally loved by each of God’s children. As the Bible puts it, “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:18).