Note that Jesus says “peacemakers” not merely “peace lovers.” Most people love peace, they enjoy living free from violence and chaos. But not everyone is willing to do the hard work of making peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they get clobbered from both sides.”
Raymond Congdon 1927 – 2008

I couldn’t find the source of this next quote, so it is a paraphrase. “To have peace, both sides need to agree that peace is the best course. If only one side wants peace, there can be no peace.”

In Pastoral Prayers I frequently pray, “We pray for a peace that is more than the absence of war, although we would certainly welcome that.” This alludes to the Jewish concept of “Shalom”, a word that includes everything that leads to a life of joy and blessing: religious and secular freedom, dignity, respect, equal access to life’s necessities and opportunities, education, health care, and a say in the government. These blessings seem to be in short supply.

In seminary we were taught a model of how to bridge differences. This model was used in inter-faith dialogues on a host of issues.

1. Side A sets forth its beliefs and position.
2. Side B cannot comment on what Side A has said until Side B can repeat Side A’s views to Side A’s satisfaction.
3. Then Side B sets forth its beliefs and position. Side A cannot comment until it can repeat Side B’s views to Side B’s satisfaction.
4. Then the Sides respond, beginning with points on which they already agree.
5. Then the sides go back and forth. RESPECTFULLY!

This rules out listening only until one side finds something they can seize upon to criticize, rebut, or condemn the other. This model asks a lot from people; but making peace is worth every effort.