Does that mean siding with the enemy? Or becoming friends with those who have caused harm?
Well, yes, sometimes it does. But there's a good reason for that.
The peace we work for is a situation where all people are in creative, harmonious relationship with one another.
Much more than an absence of violence, and even more than just a state of quiet tolerance.
Real peace, as we see exemplified by Jesus in the Bible, is active, dynamic, creative and relational - people being fully enabled to utilise their various differences, similarities, abilities and weaknesses together, working in harmony for the common good.
That vision can often seem far off when there is serious tension and conflict. But if we want to seek that vision of peace, we have to find a way to build relationships with those who we might call enemies and with those very people who we are in conflict with.
Let's be honest - this is generally a slow and painful process. But it is also a necessary one if we are going to seek this real peace.
- in the Bible he was born and lived in a time of much conflict,
- he was often persecuted and attacked himself, but always responded creatively, relationally, and without violence
- he was ready to stand up to systems and powers which were oppressive and which caused harm
- he was ready to speak out against those who ran those systems
- but he was also ready and eager to meet with them, eat with them and build relationships with them
We see that in his life he related to and valued people from all sides of the conflicts going on around him - those who were being oppressed as well as the oppressors, those who were threatening him as well as those who were supporting him, those who his family and tribe called enemies as well as his own people.
We seek to love all - that means listening to everyone, whichever side they're from, valuing them, seeking to empower them to transform their own communities, and generally "seeking out the highest good" in everyone. That's true whichever side they're from.
It is through that love that relationships are built, seeds of peace sown, and in the slow but beautiful process of peacemaking takes place.
// We would love you to join us as we make peace together - sign up, give or come to an event and be part of making peace...