Remember those high school yearbook predictions: most likely to become famous, most likely to become fabulously rich, etc.? Have you ever thought about what kind of person is most likely to become a peacemaker?
In my novel, SOMEONE HAS TO DIE, you’ll be surprised at who is willing to take a risk for peace, and who does everything in their power to prevent peace. You might think that a Christian pastor is more likely to pursue peace than a Muslim imam–actually, that hasn’t been my experience in the Muslim world, and you’ll get a taste of this harsh reality when you read the book!
True, Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian pastor. But other famous peacemakers come from a variety of walks of life: Gandhi was a lawyer, Badshah Khan started schools for the poor, Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer who became president, and Jesus was a poor carpenter’s son. And all over the world today there are everyday people who see two people or two groups of people hostile to one another, and take a risk to stand in the middle and love both sides.
When 9/11 happened, I remember emailing my Christian friends in the US encouraging them that it was the right time to make friends with the Muslims around them who might be afraid of angry, random retribution. One couple took my suggestion seriously and joined other members of the community to serve their local mosque as nightwatchmen. The mosque’s attenders were overwhelmed by the kindness of these neighbors. One of them got talking to my friends, and next thing you know they were planning a hike together and eating in each other’s homes. The risk my friends took to build a bridge paid off!
Just this week another friend shared how he took a group of American Christians into the gay prostitution district of his city to ask the homosexuals for forgiveness for how the Christian media and institutions have treated them! He told me how many of them were deeply touched and asked my friend’s team to pray with them right there in the street.
One of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King is this: “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” You may not think of yourself as a Gandhi, Mandela or MLK, but when you see any opposing people or groups where God gives you the grace to love both sides, take a risk and do something about it! The ripple effect of you becoming who God wants you to be creates a momentum for them to become who God made them to be as well.