Putting Down the Gun

I was just on the internet preparing a lesson on the beatitudes and was searching for an image to use to illustrate “Blessed are the peacemakers […]” Would you like to know the first image that popped up on my screen?

A revolver. Now, regardless of your views on guns (which I’m not touching with a 39.5 ft pole) I find it alarming that the Internet’s idea of peacemaking is to point violence in the direction of the issue.

And isn’t America in a nice pickle with that thinking? Instead of stopping, sitting, listening, and discussing with one another we tend to jump straight to a pointed finger and condemning evidence.  (Ever notice that words ending with “mn” tend to be negative? No point, really, just an observation.)

There are so many issues running around right now that involve two sides shouting at one another: moral, ethical, political, theological. It boggles the mind that people who claim to follow a King who didn’t break a thin reed nor snuff a sputtering candle would sink to vitriol, venom, and verbal violence. (Oh, dear, preacher came out – look at that alliteration, would you?)

I guess what I’m getting at is the generally affluent Western, evidence-based culture we have cultivated has led us to a point where we have trouble listening to real issues, and then working to solve the problems without compromising our own values. Yes, we can help others, give them life, without sacrificing our values and morals, but it takes time, wisdom and effort.

Peacemaking is hard work. It involves careful listening, prayer, deliberation, compassion, mercy, pity, and humility. It takes time and patience. And, while, yes, pointing a gun is faster, violence is a peacekeeping action, not a peacemaking one. Death and violence rarely create lasting peace, as current world events have shown.

How do you and your family handle conflict? Is there shouting, anger, and name calling? Is there patience, understanding, and peacemaking? Are you proactive or reactive when handling difficult situations?

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