It is easy to assume that all politics and peacemaking can be mutually exclusive. The truth is that there are many situations that in order to keep the peace, politics may be involved or even get in the way. Where there is a dispute of uncommon interests, whether it is to gain control, power or leadership that is politics. God teaches us on how “we should be” if we are to be His children. As human beings created by God we are asked to be images of the Father. In doing so, we bring peace to ourselves and to others.
In many organizations, there are internal conflicts, and even key leaders begin to make their case and use politics in what they hope may either bring the peace or put an end to what they believe is disrupting their peace. Vice Presidents will threaten other departments by flexing their control should those departments not do as they are told. When we discuss politics, we discuss the policies and processes that are brought up for debate. These same policies dictate the path towards peacemaking as a societal whole. But it is also important to remember that it also brings about additional conflict within the groups and hence another opportunity for peacemaking. Take a look at what took place in Ireland in 1997.
“In August of 1997, less than a month after the second cease-fire took hold in Northern Ireland, thousands of Presbyterian pastors and lay leaders gathered in Belfast to make a, historic public recommitment to peacemaking between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
Michael Cassidy, a South African evangelical influential in producing open elections and the end to apartheid in South Africa, challenged them to a new level of personal responsibility for bringing about reconciliation and tolerance. At his invitation, nearly two-thirds of the 3,000 in the audience stood up to signal their pledge to peacemaking. Earlier this year, the Anglican Church of Ireland took similar steps when its general synod voted to condemn the presence of sectarian views within their denomination and to conduct an inquiry to determine how severe the problem is” (Morgan, 1997).
Without politics they would not have taken the additional steps to really determine what the problem was and rededicate themselves towards peace. But there are other examples where politics and peacemaking are not mutually exclusive. Take the military for example. Our leaders wage war on other countries that have different political views than ours. We are sent to war using force. And only as the victor can we then define what we believe peace to be. Whose war were we fighting? Whose definition of peace were we attaining? Ours, the people, another nations?