Confessions of a Peacefaker


I like to think that I’m a “peacemaker.” I live my life in hopes of creating and keeping peaceful, beautiful, sacred spaces for and around my relationships. I want to make people feel safe to speak with me—to share their stories and lives. I want to be an empathetic listener, for I believe that it is through less speaking and more listening that the world’s hurts will be healed.

However, I fall short of my goals more often than I like. My instructor for a pastoral counseling class last week called the tendency to smooth over conflicts without actually dealing with them “peacefaking.” I mourn how easy it is to be a peacefaker—talking the talk of God’s peace and shalom without walking the walk. I find it easiest to be a peacefaker within my own heart. Sometimes it’s easier to push the pain down—to hide my wounds for the sake of a fragile veneer of happiness or contentment.

But that is not a healthy way to live. Instead, we are invited by God to attend to the conflicts within and among ourselves and our neighbors. With the help of our Comforter Holy Spirit, in attending to our darkness, we may find the sharp edges of conflict softened. We may look into ourselves and into others with generosity and see that we are all just trying to do our best. God is in the business of redemption, and we are invited into this fruitful, world-changing work that starts right here with us—if we’re willing.

1 Comment

  1. Many years ago, my Mother (now 86) and my Aunt (a couple years younger and no longer with us – yes smoking is bad for your health)explained to me the peacemaker role was historically the woman’s role in families. Smooth it over, keep things moving in a large family, negotiate and keep the peace. They sacrificed expressing their own opinions in the name of keeping the peace. They were impressed that I recognized this personal sacrifice at my early age of 25 – they said they recognized it at around 50. They were envious of my ability to make a conscious choice at such a young age to keep the peace or be more opinionated and stand my ground when I thought it really mattered. I have spent an opinionated life and, while I would not make a different decision, it has come with personal sacrifice in relationships with people I truly love. I ask all younger women (and older women) to examine how much of the peacemaking behavior is learned by example and culture and to talk to significant others about what that role brings to their relationship. It is a larger more complicated discussion than just one individual.

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