Give Peace a Chance…

Ben Schoettel   -  


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Here we sit, another advent season searching for peace in a world that seems to create nothing but conflict. Another war in the world that is continually destroying lives and impacting generations. The war in Ukraine is just one example of the chaos in the world. Racism, homelessness, disease, famine, political terrorism, the list keeps on growing. One can be tempted to think of “peace” as a miraculous destination that we must fight against all the evils to finally reach. Afterall… that is how wars begin. Regardless of the sincerity of the leader, all talks of war imply the same goal, peace. But as we see throughout our history books, that peace that is promised never lasts. That generally leaves us again begging for peace. For the Church, our “begging” can mostly be seen through prayers. But can we really fault those who don’t know Jesus for being doubtful of whether peace can exist? This is why it is important for us not only to ask for peace but to be agents of peace.

Through Jesus, we not only have access to experience peace, but we are also told that we have the opportunity to “make” peace in the world around us. This word for peace is “Shalom” which can also be translated as wholeness, harmony, or “things as they should be.” As seen above in the Sermon on the Mount, we are indeed “blessed” as the family of God when we actively seek to make peace.

True peace, the process of making things as they should be, cannot be accomplished through vengeance or violence, but through restoration. We see an example of this peace in the story of Joseph. Joseph was betrayed by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery. Joseph attempted to still do the right thing, but even then, was betrayed yet again and thrown into prison. Joseph faced underserved trial after trial at the hands of others. Despite all that, he eventually found himself in a position of privilege, and then had his opportunity to seek revenge. Joseph’s brothers were in desperate need of help, and fate had led them to the feet of none other than the brother they had betrayed.

In that moment, the temptation would be to see peace as something Joseph could now attain by finally getting his chance to give them what “they deserved.” To finally be at peace at the destruction of his brethren turned enemies. It is in moments like these that our impulses become selfish and immature. If we have something taken from us, the only way things can be right in our minds is if we take it back. If we are hit, we don’t feel good unless we hit back. Again… peace through war is not peace.

What does Joseph do? He becomes a peacemaker. Joseph forgives. Joseph shows mercy. Joseph gives grace. Joseph allows the Spirit of God to divide him from his pride and pain, and he makes peace. He saw the opportunity to make things as they should be. And the result is harmony. The result is true peace.

So, if we want to celebrate this “peace on Earth” we have through the birth of our Savior, we must look for ways we can make peace with those who live among us. May we look for ways that we can give and receive grace during this precious time of year, and see the peace of God expanding across our lives.