by Alan Louis, PhD in Commerce.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Such a heart-warming verse of the Bible from the beatitudes of Jesus. Peacemakers display God’s reconciling nature because they graciously try to repair strained relations between individuals in conflict. God honours peacemakers with the recognition of being called the ‘sons of God’ – encouragement enough to strive to be a dealer in peace.
Peacemakers are rare individuals who strive to bring reconciliation and comfort between people who are at variance. They are bridge-builders between conflicting parties. A peacemaker must not be confused with a peace lover, the latter simply tries to avoid conflict whereas the former sacrifices to establish peace.
Matthew Henry, in his excellent Bible Commentary, goes further with the definition and says that peacemakers generally have two attributes, having a peaceable disposition and a peaceable conversation. The former is “to have a strong and hearty affection to peace” whereas the latter is “to preserve the peace that it be not broken, and to recover it when it is broken to hearken to proposals of peace ourselves, and to be ready to make them to others where distance is among brethren and neighbours, to do all we can to accommodate it, and to be repairers of the breaches.”
Peacemaking in Action
I was once invited to be a guest speaker at a large conference on offshore affairs to be held in London. I was encouraged to share my story regarding the unjust and craftily planned invasion of some of our businesses which caused us vast damage. The temptation was great to accept the invitation because I had enough ammunition to place the perpetrators in an unenviable position in front of a packed house.
I declined the invitation because I grew up with the virtues of Matthew 5:9. The Chairman who invited me was flabbergasted that I would refuse such a golden opportunity. My family and I were going to show restraint and use our pain and outrage for other means. My reply to him was simple: “Forgiveness will achieve better results.” Peace had the final say because my prayers were answered in a way I could never have imagined.
There was another occasion when my father had concrete evidence that an attorney had grossly and dishonestly inflated his bills, which meant that the attorney potentially stood to be disbarred. My mother was a personal friend of his wife, and for the sake of their friendship my father withdrew his action, but regrettably the attorney never mended his ways. However, peace had the final say because my mother remains good friends with his wife.
The Case for Peace
Companies are increasingly seen to be prospering at the expense of the broader community, resulting in an adversarial relationship between business and society. A remarkable organisation known as the ‘Business for Peace Foundation’ originated in Norway and was established to inspire businesses to reconnect with society, to the mutual benefit of both. Its goal is to demonstrate that business can be a force of mutual good, able to contribute significantly to the building of trust, stability and peace.
Peace is the predominant theme of the Christian Bible. It opens with peace in the Garden of Eden and closes with peace in eternity. In fact, we might see the course of history as a tapestry of peace. There was peace on earth in the garden but once man sinned, peace was interrupted. The cross of Christ re-established the tapestry of peace, and in the future Jesus will return as the Prince of Peace. He will establish a kingdom of peace which will catapult the world into an age of peace that will never end.
At this point you may be wondering, why did I dedicate some subjects of the Language of Commerce to the ‘Techniques of Business Conflict’ or ‘Experiencing the Psychopath in Commerce’, if I am now prescribing peace? We find the answer in Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
Being as wise as a serpent implies that you must know your enemy and understand his ways. Being as harmless as doves implies acting as a peacemaker, but that does not mean you must be passive when invaded, or allow the enemy through the gate, without defending yourself. King David sometimes went too far with war, but his son King Solomon was too passive. There will always be a tension between war and peace, but we are to strive for peace as best we can.
The Peacemaking Strategy
If you wish to be a peacemaker, it will require that you implement a strategy of peace. This strategy must include studying the things that make for peace, and avoiding that which will deter from peace or that which will promote mischief.
Nothing worthwhile comes without a sacrifice. I was given this wise counsel when much was stolen from me: “If you do not forgive and seek peace, your children and grandchildren may carry the baton of disgust towards ….. for generations to come.” I never hesitated to follow this advice, and it’s my prayer that you will too.
If discord seems to increase in a situation, find ways to build a bridge of reconciliation, spare no pains, no expense, to preserve and regain peace. Be willing to deny yourself very much, both in honour and interest, for the sake of peace.
History has unequivocally shown that in cases of contention, those that dabble in strife are conquered, and those that deal in peace are conquerors.
About the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity since the age of 7. He was awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the ups and downs of commerce for 3 decades.