There is a reason Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” instead of blessed are the peacekeepers. Peacekeeping involves managing a compromise created between two opposing forces in order to manage their unresolved conflict. The issues that create a lack of peace are never dealt with through peace keeping.
Peacemaking is different because making peace, by its very nature, is a spiritually violent act. This was the nature of the cross of Jesus. It was a violent act that made peace between God and people. When we come to make peace those elements in control of the status quo of a kept peace will confront your presence as they did with Jesus when He walked the streets of Jerusalem. When you try to set free those held captive by the terms of a false peace things can turn violent.
When Samuel Colt created his iconic Colt 45 revolver in 1872 it was named the Peacemaker. Historians call it “The gun that won the West.” Colt’s naming of his revolver was prophetic because it would be worn on the hip of marshals and sheriffs who walked the violent dirt streets in the boomtowns of the American West. These lawmen would sometimes be forced to pull their Peacemaker and engage the thugs who held these small towns captive to their version of “peace” – a version of peace that only existed as long as you agreed to their terms.
In life we can try to keep the peace at the expense of making peace. Like two unruly children who only get along when a parent steps between them and keeps them apart, we try to do the same thing in a business, a church or community. Peacekeeping temporarily salves the wounds of division, but never really discovers its root cause. Peacemakers push deeper into the core issues that cause our division in the first place, arrest the root lie that holds us captive and then walks that lie out into the light of truth where the possibility of real peace exists. This is what happens when peacemakers come to town.