Peacekeeper vs Peacemaker: Where Do You Sit?
Today throughout the world we’re constantly hearing of wars and rumors of wars on national and global scales. Even locally we hear of conflicts occurring and escalating more and more. We hear of conflicts from our children but not just ordinary after school fist fights like in times past.
We hear of violent, escalated personal attacks of aggression whether from a single bully or at the hand of children mobs which were before unheard of on school grounds. Some of these sadly even among our school age children are ending in death whether from suicide or otherwise.
The reality of war and conflict is among us. Conflict is a constant reality in the world today. You may hear of it from your school age child, engage in a family fight or conflict in your own home, witness protests turned violent among residents in your own city, across the nation, or see wars and fights at a distance among people in foreign countries.
Yet, what person will deny that they desire to enjoy a peaceful life free of war and conflict? Does the bible offer us any instruction concerning how we as Christians are to address war and conflict today?
Jesus acknowledges the coming and intensification of war and conflict in the world as he speaks to his disciples explaining to them that escalation of war and conflict is one of the signs of the end of the age.
6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Was Jesus giving his disciples just a “spiritual alert” for the future or did he give them something more;-instructions of what they were to do when they heard of wars and rumors of wars in their lifetime?
Even today when conflict and wars come are we just to passively throw up our hands and say“ Oh well”, Jesus said wars and rumors of wars would come. Or did he equip us and give us a response for wars and rumors of wars when they do come?
The secular world has equipped themselves and devised plans to obtain and maintain peace in response to wars and rumors of wars using their worldly sensual wisdom. Then certainly Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace must have provided those who are his own with an appropriate and effective response to wars and rumors of wars occurring in their generation as well.
The secular world proposes peacekeeping as the solution to conflict and war. Jesus the Prince of Peace ordained peacemaking as the solution to conflict and war.
But what exactly is peacekeeping?
Good Question! Peacekeeping is simply a third party or parties intervening between two or more parties in active conflict or war to effect an immediate cessation of active conflict or war between them. Peacekeeping in and of itself is a short term, temporary and “artificial” method of cessation of conflict.
We see and hear the world’s secular approach to war and conflict resolution in in their peacekeeping strategies every day. Just listen to the six o’clock news. Various strategies are offered by our politicians in Washington every day, particularly as it regards middle eastern nations i.e. Syria, ISIS, IRAQ, IRAN, Palestinians, Russia, China and even others.
We’ve heard much on the secular world’s usage of peacekeeping strategies. Governments routinely offer them as solutions to conflict and wars in various nations. The United States is well known for promoting its peacekeeping strategies among nations at war around the world. We regularly send our military advisers, troops, and armed forces personnel as do other nations to areas around the world to stop the killings of civilians in foreign nations including Syria, IRAQ, and elsewhere. Then we try to bring warring parties to the table to initiate or consummate a “peace agreement” between the parties in conflict. These are very noble efforts at best.
The Recurring Problem of Peacekeeping
The recurring problem is that when troops are removed warring factions simply start to kill each other again. Why? The answer is simple. These troops did not “make” peace; they only “kept the peace.” It was a temporary situation, a temporary stop gap for more killing. The root or core of the problems that caused the conflict or war were not addressed or dismantled. Therefore whenever the temporary stop gap is removed, be it the physical presence of peacekeepers on the ground or monetary incentives or foreign aid is removed; the conflict reignites and continues often times more violent than before.
Even in today’s politics the talking point concerning foreign policy is often what happened in a certain country when the U.S. removed their military forces. The ensuing political blame game of “who is at fault” when peacekeeping efforts fail. Failure is often costly not just in the millions of dollars spent peacekeeping, but also the lost lives of peacekeepers on foreign soil and other resources. It can be disheartening to see countries return to to war and conflict once again after such noble efforts are made.
The Major Flaw of Peacekeeping
One major flaw of peacekeeping strategies is that they typically seek to avoid or successfully address those things which offend. These are typically where the root of the problems lie which caused the conflict. Peacekeepers fear that offending either party will cause the other to re-enter conflict or leave the state of relative peace.