Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.—Matthew 5:9
As we simplify our lives and prepare for harder times we need to learn many skills. Preppers often speak about learning to farm, hunt, build and mend. Some talk about learning self-defense. We can easily forget one of the most basic skills that we’re called to learn and practice: peacemaking.
When we get most of what we need by buying it from strangers, and spend much of our social time in online groups of like-minded people, we may not get much chance to practice peacemaking. When we depend on and spend time with our actual neighbors, with their wide range of opinions, their annoying habits and their uncomfortable awareness of our annoying habits, peacemaking becomes essential. We need not to condemn or mistrust people because they work or teach their kids or worship their God in ways that our different from ours. We need to learn to acknowledge our differences, speak clearly about what we cannot accept, let go of things that just happen to displease us, and admit and amend our own faults. We need to forgive one another and ourselves.
This is simple enough to say. It can be very difficult to do. But if we wish to follow and to imitate the Son of God, and if we want to have a chance at a decent life in our local communities, we need to keep making the effort.
There is an even more basic reason for peacemaking. As Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:25, we are members one of another. The help that we give to our neighbors we give to Christ and to ourselves. The harm that we do to our neighbors we do to Christ and to ourselves.
Let us live, then, as children of God.