From a young boy to my middle 30’s, I (Jerry) was a peacekeeper. It seemed to serve me well—or at least I thought it did—for many years. In fact, I had pride in the fact that I was able to be “level-headed” when others around me were not. In my mind, being a peacekeeper was noble and mature. The question that often came to mind during my early years—especially as a child and teenager—was, “Why can’t everyone just get along?” I just didn’t understand.
A False Peace
What was the problem with this approach to life? I see at least three reasons, and there are likely more.
First, it was birthed out of a wound. As a child, I never saw healthy conflict exhibited in my home. My father had anger issues. When there was a problem between my father and mother or between him and one of my two brothers or me, he would often become angry and yell. Early on I learned to avoid conflict at all costs. Peace in the environment was the ultimate goal. So I made internal decisions not to be angry and to keep the peace (and try to get others to do that as well). These decisions or “vows” were very powerful and I didn’t understand the negative impact on me until I started counseling.
Second, the peace I was keeping was a “false peace.” True peace—in a relational context—is not the absence of conflict. It is a desire to achieve understanding when differences occur and, when possible, to find resolution to the issue(s) that have caused those differences. In many cases, it will require engaging in constructive conflict in order to end hostilities and to reach agreement and peace about an issue.
God is not a proponent of peace that is not based in truth. We see this in Jeremiah 6:14 when, speaking of false prophets, He says, “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘peace, peace,’ but there is no peace.” (See also Jer. 8:11; Eze. 13:10, 16). The Apostle Paul also writes about a false peace in 1 Thessalonians 5:3. In reference to the Day of the Lord, he states, “While they are saying, ‘peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”
Third, being a peacekeeper shut down my heart. Because I would not allow myself to engage in constructive conflict, I could not allow myself to be passionate. The need for peace and harmony—even if it was false—trumped passion and wholehearted living.
Blessed Are the Peacemakers . . . Not Peacekeepers
In one of the most important sermons of Jesus’ ministry, he said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matt 5:9). Jesus did not say, “Blessed are the peacekeepers.” And he surely did not model keeping the peace (the avoidance of disagreement or conflict) at all costs. He was able to do this without sinning, and we, too, by His grace, can do this without sinning.
Because of my core shame, fear and anxiety from the wounds of my past, I adopted a belief system and became a peacekeeper for many years. It wasn’t from God and it blocked living from my heart. It hindered intimacy with others—especially Denise. When I dealt with the wounds of the past, I was able to resign from this peacekeeping role and engage in life from a new place.
What Are You?
Are you a peacekeeper—or a peacemaker? Ask the Father. What He reveals, He will heal.
Until next week . . .
NOTE: If you or someone you know is in need of finding a safe place for emotional and/or spiritual healing and restoration, please contact us at The Father’s Heart Intensive Christian Counseling Ministry through our web site at www.fathersheart.com or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We are located in the North Georgia Mountains in a retreat-oriented environment and have established opportunities for ministry to individuals or couples for time periods as little as a few hours to as long as five days.