DECEMBER 12: Making peace > keeping peace

The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.*

Ask most people to envision peace and what they will describe is something like world-wide “getting along”. Can’t we just act kinder, listen more, extend tolerance? Few would argue that more of any of that would create a gentler world.

But even if universally adopted, being nicer, being great listeners and “putting up” with each other won’t create real peace. What would emerge is civility. At first, civility seems like a bar so low anyone should be able to reach it. But there’s so much more at stake—and there’s a reason you must not settle for civility in your nation, your workplace, your friendships or your family.

In order for us to remain civil, we must subvert any conviction—no matter how deeply held or logical—which contradicts another’s conviction. They must do the same for us. Focusing on what we have in common is wonderful, but focusing only on what we have in common may demand people hide what’s most valuable to them.

In this way, a world of peace-keeping is actually a world of a certain sort of violence. It’s a world of smiles, hugs and handshakes, but a world which buries alive what makes us most brave and passionate. Somebody always has to pay.

This is the world that peace-keeping will provide us.

The world that Jewish prophets had been envisioning for hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus was one of shalom. Shalom isn’t sweeping the conflicting bits under the rug, it was nothing short of the perfect functioning of the entire world—the environment, the economy, the animal kingdom and every human being in relationship with others.

This is a peace that must be made. This is a peace that must be fought for. a peace that must be carefully considered. It’s a peace that requires true, honest, all-my-cards-on-the-table reconciliation. It’s a peace that forces us to unify at a level much deeper than the surface. We must unify at the deepest place of our minds and souls.

This is the expansive peace that came to mind when first-century Jewish people heard that this baby would bring God’s peace to history. This is the peace Jesus outlined, commanded and promised for each of his followers.


“PeaceMaker, the peace you are making in this world will not be achieved by my sheepish, patronizing, tap-on-the-head, “you do you” civility. There’s a peace that requires courage, honesty and sacrificial love. Show me where I can make a little more of that today.


Do not keep peace when you can make peace. Is there someone with whom you need to make amends? Is there someone with whom you need to lovingly share your convictions and become curious about theirs?

*The writings of Hebrew prophet, Isaiah, chapter 2, verse 4


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