Perhaps half a dozen times in recent memory the concept of peacekeepers versus peacemakers has been placed in front of me and it’s a good distinction, one I need to hear over and over again. Jesus says, “blessed are the peaceMAKERS,” not the peacekeepers.
Peacekeepers are a bit of a trigger for me, as in I cannot abide having things smoothed over, tucked away, set aside, covered up, feelings soothed. Now of course, there are sensible applications for “peacekeeping,” in our homes for example, with children, relationships. Peacekeeping strikes me as a very mothering thing to do, as in here, have another piece of pie and make it all better.
There is nothing inherently wrong with trying to use pie to fix a broken world, you’re just going to need a whole lot of pie, and if you bury enough ugliness under pie for too long, you can actually give birth to some major eating disorders.
Peacekeepers tend to put bandaids over raging infections. My mother is a peacekeeper and in complete defiance, I became more like a fire setter. I like to drag toxic family secrets out by their roots and just set them on fire in the living room. I’ve learned how to temper it somewhat in polite company, to allow people to hold onto their own stuff, to not be so reactionary and compulsive about it.
Compulsion and reactions aside, I really am a peaceMAKER, as in please, drag that yuck out into the sunlight and confront it. I need to see some gnashing of teeth, some pulling of weeds, some digging out of deep seated issues. Repression just doesn’t work for me, I can feel it and sense it and if the pressure builds too much, I have got to just set the darn house on fire. Burn it down. I’ll provoke a crisis if necessary.
If you want to really scare the heck out of me me, get everybody all dressed up, looking pinched and perfect, speaking politely, keeping up appearances, everything is just fine. We’re so blessed. Somewhat funny, but that kind of presents a challenge to me in the churchian world, because there are a whole lot of us like that in the Body of Christ, pew warmers, bench sitters, the beautiful people.
Us. I include myself in there too, because often I am so busy in praise and worship, in the awesome wonder of it all, in the act of being so greatly blessed, I often forget to even mention why I might need the Lord in the first place. I am one cracked pot, a broken vessel, a completely shattered bit of pottery held together by the Lord’s supernatural duct tape. That’s some awesome duct tape too, because as fractured and full of holes as I am, I can now hold water, lots and lots of living water.
Last week, I got to see the weight of those toxic secrets, the burden the beautiful people sometimes carry, the often self imposed exile some experience in the churchian world when keeping up appearances becomes the most important thing. To see the pain, the weight of that load come off of someone’s shoulders, really reaffirmed my commitment to try to remember to communicate the realness of the Christian life, the trials and tribulations, the imperfections of our walk with Christ.
He is the Great Potter and I am reminded that pottery is a messy business. There are dirty hands and clay being flung about and mud on the floor.
I pray no one ever sits in a church I am in, holding tight to secrets, feeling as if it is somehow their fault, as if their life would be better if only they had more faith or were a better Christian. It’s the enemy who tries to isolate us with those lies, who tries to tell us we are all alone. He is sometimes called the accuser of the brethren.
I am the Lord’s cracked and broken vessel and often in the joy of salvation, in the gratitude of the moment, I forget to tell people the truth of who and what I am, of where I’ve been and why I am His. Sometimes I forget that there are other people who really need to hear our stories and our hope.