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Being A Peacemaker: How To Make Peace
Making peace, keeping the peace and being a peacemaker is not for the faint of heart. Being a peace maker means having an active role in "creating peace". It is not the same as a peace keeper, who is in the neutral mode of keeping the status quo. Making peace is not being a doormat for others to walk over you, but it is an active practice in looking for ways to make peace in a stressful situation, with stressful and sometimes unhappy and mean people, and learning the art of being a negotiator and most times playing the middle man.
Not an easy place to be but a critical role for those in our society who help hold the glue of our society together, in both relationships in families, between friends and on a bigger scale: making peace between countries and nations.
I learned the difference between peace making and peace keeping in a sermon my pastor gave a few years ago, and it was one of those pivotal "aha" moments in my life when I realized my past attempts at creating peace in our own family had been more focused on just trying to "keep the peace", rather than being an active "participant" towards actually helping "make" the peace.
Two really entirely different things.
Being a peacemaker is not easy - it's an ongoing process
This is not one of those articles to say "Hey, I got it all together now, just follow my words and your life will be peace free" No, it's rather an idea guide for you to develop some of your own peace making skills, based on what I have learned, practiced and observed with and in people since beginning my peace making journey. If you take just one tidbit from this hub that helps you in your own peace making efforts, then this hub has well served it's purpose.
First of all, let's look at the definition of peace making and being a peacemaker:
The definition of a peacemaker
The dictionary states the a peacemaker is "One that makes peace, especially by settling disputes". It also describes a peacemaker as "a person who establishes peace, esp between others". Like I said earlier, being a peacemaker requires having a very active role in establishing the peace.
So, what if you want to be a peacemaker and the two parties don't want to make peace - like say your son and his wife, or your two quarreling sons, or your husband who doesn't want to be married anymore?
As much as YOU may want peace, some part of the warring parties must be willing to work towards reconciliation. Just like in legal mediation, both parties have agreed to let someone "mediate" a solution to their issues, but they have both agreed on mediation. If you are attempting to make peace between two sides who don't want peace, the best thing to do is let the disagreeing parties know you are still there for them, but let them know making peace requires their active participation too:
"At such times, the spiritual leader must be willing to work for whatever peace can be found – even if it is less than complete. A little peace, an improved condition, is always better than no progress at all."
If just one party wants to make peace, they can still make peace within themselves, even without the other party agreeing, because after all, we are masters of our own thoughts and bodies, and we can only let someone else steal our peace if we let them. No one can physically wrench our own emotions away from us (although it may feel like they can sometimes)
Being a peacemaker requires:
- active participation
- listening skills
- a third party "neutrality"
- the ability to remove oneself from the "fray", as if almost in a "detached" state, but still keeping realistic thoughts and emotions intact, much like an umpire in a baseball game
What peacemaking is not
- Is not sweeping things under the rug or ignoring issues.
- is not "peace at any price".True peace does not exist in the absence of truth.
- is not evading the issues.
- is not just a "truce". True peace means that the issues have been dealt with; the hostilities cease; and the war is over. A "truce" is just temporary, but can lead to reconciliation over time.
Poll about peacemaking
Did you come to this hub to:
What the Bible says about peacemakers
A favorite scripture of mine from the Bible addresses those that seek to be peacemakers:
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God": Matthew 5:9.
To read more on peace: How to Find Peace in Everyday Life.
Things you can do to be a peace maker
So what active things can you do to facilitate peace and be a peacemaker for those around you?
- If you know two parties have problems with one another and don't know what to do, DO NOT fuel the fire by making judgmental statements. If you are truly seeking to be a peacemaker between the parties, be as neutral as possible and don't take sides. Although our natural inclination is to sometimes do this, taking sides tends to alienate people. Tell the truth in love, not in anger or malice. People tend to get defensive when they feel they are being attacked. If you feel emotional about the process, perhaps it's time to step back and take a breather yourself.
- If you know two parties have a problem with each other, do not force them into mediation or try to make them forgive one another. They will only resent it. You cannot force change on someone. Talk to the parties separately and remain focused on the end goal - establishing peace.
- If you have been called to be a peacemaker, perhaps in your own family or relationships, find a sympathetic counselor you can talk to yourself. Tell them your goals and have them help you work towards those goals. Sometimes we must even separate ourselves from the warring parties in order to keep peace in our own heads, and sometimes we need a listening ear to help us when we do too much, overstep our boundaries or don't know when to say no.
- Peacemakers are much like the officials in a sports game that are neutral and are there to officiate. If you are being a peacemaker, don't claim a side because that will defeat the purpose. You must stay neutral and stick to the rules of the game.
- Don't get sucked into the sick relationship of "tri-angulations". Relationships are between 2 parties, and the third wheel tends to bring in some sick dynamics. Once again it's that stay neutral stance, unless someone has absolutely crossed the line (ex: physical injury, abuse, theft, etc)