Peacemakers and Peacekeepers

Are you a peacemaker or a peacekeeper?

When I take an honest look at my life, I think I would often bucket myself into the peacekeeper category.

You know those types of people: one who avoids conflict, doesn’t ruffle any feathers, and makes sure everyone is happy.

That is me. In fact, that has always been me.

As I read through the Beattitudes the other week (and though some wise counsel from a friend), naturally verse 9 seemed to already be highlighted in bright yellow.

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

Do I simply seek to preserve peace, or do I intentionally seek out reconciliation in my relationships? Ouch. No need to write it down — I know what my answer would be.

I’ve mentioned this in the past: there have been times in the past where I avoid bringing up “issues” because I am fearful that it shows a sign of weakness.

That is passivity and a sure-fire characteristic of a peacekeeper. That is merely running from conflict.

On my own, I’m a peacekeeper. With Christ, I am peacemaker. I am grateful that with His strength I don’t have to settle for something that I am not. I want to remember that, through God, I have the ability to actively proclaim truth and love… even if that means breaking my “mold” and addressing a little conflict.

On a side note: what does a peacemaker look like? I like what an article on the Desiring God blog says:

A peacemaker is someone who experiences the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) because he is at peace (Romans 5:1) with the God of peace (Philippians 4:9) through the Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), who, indeed, is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and who therefore seeks to live at peace with all others (Romans 12:18) and proclaims the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) so that others might have joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13).

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Are you a peacekeeper or a peacemaker?

35 Comments

  • Michael

    August 22, 2011

    Ouch. Pretty sure I’ve been a peace keeper.

    Reply
  • Moe

    August 22, 2011

    I’ve mingled between wanting to be a peacekeeper, but I find that peacemaker is the better route. I would say that becoming a peacemaker is walking into a war and fight. Peace can only come after you fight in a war where there is no peace. Christ died on that cross and we as a result have peace.

    Thanks for the inspiration bro.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      So true- thanks for the perspective: “peace only comes after conflict”

      Reply
  • Jon

    August 22, 2011

    Dude…I’m completely with you on this one. I’m the person who avoids confrontation at all costs even when sometimes it’s necessary. The thing about it is that being peacemakers sometimes means you have to do those uncomfortable things, and not just stay silent.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      yeah, absolutely… “at all costs” (even at the cost of relationships I value). thanks for the comment, jon.

      Reply
  • Tony Alicea

    August 22, 2011

    I agree with Moe in that a peacemaker isn’t passive. A peacekeeper can only keep peace if it already exists. If there is no peace, a peacemaker comes into a conflict and “makes” peace. Sometimes that means confrontation and conflict. But ultimately, the goal is to forge peace.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      I confused the two all the time. In a sense, I feel that if I’m “keeping the peace”, I’m mitigating conflict. But should that be my end goal? No. Forge is a good word… it takes heat, a little bit of pounding, and sparks for peace to be made sometimes… :)

      Reply
  • jenn

    August 22, 2011

    Great thoughts Dustin. I could look back five or six years and say I was most definitely a peacekeeper back then. I have changed a lot since then, but I don’t know that I’m a peacemaker all the time. Its so easy to fall back into old comfortable habits (peacekeeper). It is a constant struggle for me to be a peacemaker.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      Glad to hear that you’re moving along… me too! :)

      Reply
  • bill (cycleguy)

    August 22, 2011

    I think I tend to be a little of both. I don’t like conflict but have to face it. But I also like to “solve” problems, especially if I can bring two people into at least a “tolerable” position again so they can being talking.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      See that’s the thing- I’m very much a fixer. If there is conflict in my life, I try to do anything and everything to make sure everything is okay. Almost to the point that my heart behind the “fixing” is to avoid future conflict. Ahh! :)

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    August 22, 2011

    When it comes to working with young people, I think I’m definitely more of a peacemaker. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had students at my house who were upset with someone else, themselves or even God, and I had to intervene to bring peace to the situation.

    But when it comes to other situations, like work, I’m more of a peacekeeper. Definitely need to work on that.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      I can see that Jason- you invest so much of your time and energy into these students that you want/need to stay actively engaged in their lives.

      Reply
  • arny

    August 22, 2011

    Peacekeeper all the way…

    i try to avoid conflect so peacemaker is alittle far fetched…

    I remember my mom and dad had a huge fight a couple years back…she was to stay at our house…and I wanted to get my dad and give him a piece of my mind and tell him to make it right with my mom…and tell my mom somethings too…but then, I didn’t…i chikened out…

    but everything worked itself out…

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      What you said aligned with what some of the other folks said in other comments- peacemaking is active. In your case, it’s seeing conflict and positioning yourself so that you are able to extend out God’s peace to others.

      Reply
  • Ben

    August 22, 2011

    I think I’m a little of both, but I definitely lean towards the side of Peacemaker. Having any sort of thing unresolved or any sort of issue is like a cancer to me, and if it doesn’t get “dealt with” sooner than later, it eats away at my soul which effects the rest of my living and being.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      Yeah, I know what you mean about it eating away at you. Drives me nuts…

      Reply
  • Loren Pinilis

    August 22, 2011

    This is something I had to come to terms with in my marriage. There got to be a point where I realized that simply avoiding conflict wasn’t the best thing to do. The most loving thing was to bring up the hard stuff and work through it.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      Oh yes, marriage. Probably the toughest part of it all… :) At times all my wife wants is for me to be upfront, honest, and address things – for someone like me that’s hard sometimes, but I’m learning… :)

      Reply
  • Jim F

    August 22, 2011

    I think I have bounced like a ball back and forth between the two …not really ideal but it is the truth.

    Good thoughts.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      Me too, Jim – know what you mean.

      Reply
  • Cindy Holman

    August 22, 2011

    Scott had something like this on his blog last week and when I told him I thought I was a “peacemaker” – he said “are you sure you don’t mean peaceKEEPER?” Now I see what he means. Yes – that’s what I am.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      Oh nice, I’ll have to find his post… thanks cindy

      Reply
  • Keri

    August 22, 2011

    Dustin, I too, struggle with this dichotomy. I had a long talk with my bff this weekend about my lack of ability to confidently speak up when something is amiss. I’m so afraid to rock the boat because of what it will mean for how people perceive me. Am I too sensitive? Am I just a silly girl? Am I overreacting? What I’m learning is that that feeling inside that something’s just not right is an indicator that things aren’t quite right. I don’t have to act out of that emotion, but can help to me understand that things need to change.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      Afraid to speak up because of what someone else will say… yikes, thats me too. Generally, I feel I’m a pretty confident person, but for some reason in certain areas I’ll say things just to make sure the water is calm and like you said, make sure boat is not rocked whatsoever.

      Reply
  • Ricky Anderson

    August 22, 2011

    I try to smooth over every little bump in a relationship. I’m a complete people-pleaser.

    I feel like I need everyone to like me and give me their approval.

    Thanks for this. I need to try to be a peacemaker.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 22, 2011

      Me too man… I want to remember that bumps are okay, you know?

      Reply
  • Rob Shepherd

    August 22, 2011

    Oh snap. I just got punched in the gut. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Tom

    August 23, 2011

    Thanks Dustin. I have certainly run from conflict most of my life and felt wimpy for it because I knew I was running. This past year the Spirit has helped me face down my fears and stand condident in Him. The good news is that those of us with this peacemaker personalities tend to be able to gently handle it when we do have to confront. Our weakness can become our strength! Also, I was reminded in 1 John this morning that the world is going to hate us anyway so may we be bold in Christ, peaceably and with love. Blessings!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      August 23, 2011

      tom, so cool. thank you so much for sharing!

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    August 23, 2011

    Both. And making peace is sooooo much more difficult.

    Reply
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