Peacemakers needed to forget the bad, spread the good

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, November 10, 2006

There’s a high calling in life that few seem to desire, an office that only a minority long to hold — “public peacemaker” — but what does a peacemaker do?

A peacemaker cuts through the negative information that frequently floats around dividing people who ought to love one another.

It’s not easy to be a peacemaker because peacemaking is contrary to our nature, yet Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,”(Matthew 5:9.

Peacemakers are positive people who rise above the charges and counter charges that often dominate conversation and media wrangling during election campaigns.

A peacemaker forgets the cruel comments he hears about others.

When the faults of friends become the topic of conversation he maneuvers the conversation to another subject.

When he hears something negative about another, he doesn’t feel obligated to report what has been said.

When he is approached by one of two who are at odds, he refuses to allow his ear to become a conduit for criticism.

When he hears a complimentary comment concerning another person, he’s eager to pass the good word along.

He is willing to mediate between people who disagree.

He understands the weaknesses of all people but doesn’t major on them.

He has learned to bridle his tongue as it says in James 1:26.

He is swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, James 1:29.

Peacemakers are valuable because they turn the minds of those they meet from unproductive to productive thoughts. They help break down barriers and bind up wounds. They look for the best in people.

No wonder our Lord said they would be called the children of God.

An unhappy woman thought there was no use in trying to save her marriage. Sitting across the desk from me, she shared the reasons for her pessimism and related a bitter story about her husband’s faults.

“Is there anything good about him?” I asked.

She hadn’t thought about that in a long time but, after a few moments of silence, she began to name a few redeeming qualities in this scoundrel and before she left my office her attitude toward him had changed. A little peacemaking rescued a troubled home.

An anonymous writer summed up the value of being positive about people in the following brief but powerful piece titled, “My Eternal Preference.”

“When we are given our rewards, I would prefer to be found to have erred on the side of grace rather than judgment: to have loved too much rather than too little; to have forgiven the undeserving rather than to have refused forgiveness to one who deserved it; to have fed a parasite rather than to have neglected one who was truly hungry; to have been taken advantage of rather than to have taken undue advantage; to have believed too much in my brothers and sisters rather than too little; to have believed the best and been wrong rather than to have believed the worst and been right.”

What great goals for us all.

Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich. He has written more than 20 books and has had articles published in most major Christian magazines. He was a pastor for 22 years and has been a guest speaker in Alaska churches from Anchorage to Homer.

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