“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:39)
Being “sons of God” (as Jesus identified them), peacemakers are a special breed.
They are the folks willing to make sacrifices to maintain civility and safety and to open doors to reconciliation.
History is dotted with legendary peacemakers: Mohandas Gandhi helped bring independence to India. Martin Luther King Jr. compelled our nation to grant full citizenship to marginalized races. George Marshall crafted the recovery plan that would turn many of World War II’s enemies into allies.
Few of us have the opportunity to effect peace on such grand scales, but none of us is without our personal opportunities. For many, the primary testing ground is marriage and family relationships.
In “Peacemaking for Families,” Ken Sande and Tom Raabe note that confession is one of the primary elements in the process. Perhaps because of the sinful nature that Christianity presupposes of us all, confession may be one of the toughest ingredients for most. Confessions half-heartedly or imprecisely executed may make tensions worse than ever, so the authors suggest an alliterative list that defines confession at its most beneficial.
* Address everyone involved.
* Avoid ‘If,’ ‘But’ and ‘Maybe.’
* Admit specifically.
* Accept the consequences.
* Alter your behavior.
* Ask for forgiveness and allow time.
Once such confession has been made, the burden of peacemaking shifts to the party who was wronged, who must decide whether to extend forgiveness – a decisive, active process that Sande and Raabe contend is essentially a set of four pledges:
* I will not think about this incident.
* I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.
* I will not talk to others about this incident.
* I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
Christianity teaches that man’s relationship with God is founded on man’s inherent brokenness and God’s generous forgiveness. While it goes much further, the essence of peacemaking is found in I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Blessed, indeed, are such peacemakers.
NEMS Daily Journal