Blessed are the Peacemakers

From Daryl Davis, peacemaker:

* People make the mistake of forming anti-racist groups that are rendered ineffective from the start because ONLY invite those who share their beliefs to their meetings.
* Provide a safe neutral meeting place.
* Learn as much as you can about the ideology of a racist or perceived racist in your area.
* Invite that person to meet with your group.
* VERY IMPORTANT – LISTEN to that person. What is his/her primary concern? Place yourself in their shoes. What would you do to address their concern if it were you?
* As questions, but keep calm in the face of their loud, boisterous posture if that is on display, don’t combat it with the same
* While you are actively learning about someone else, realize that you are passively teaching them about yourself. Be honest and respectful to them, regardless of how offensive you may find them. You can let them know your disagreement but not in an offensive manner.
* Don’t be afraid to invite someone with a different opinion to your table. If everyone in your group agrees with one another and you shun those who don’t agree, how will anything ever change? You are doing nothing more than preaching to the choir.
* When two enemies are talking, they are not fighting, they are talking. They may be yelling and screaming and pounding their fist on the table in disagreement to drive home their point, but at least they are talking. It is when the talking ceases, that the ground becomes fertile for violence. So, KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING.

Peacemakers always run the risk of being seen as prey by aggressors and as traitors by prey. And the truth is that peace is made by the shedding of Christ’s blood, according to St. Paul, so it does often happen that peacemakers are martyrs. Paul’s own peace with Christ was made by the shedding of Stephen’s blood, which stuck in Paul’s craw and galled him till it became the doorway by which grace broke into Paul’s life. We don’t get much psychologizing in the gospels or Acts, but one of the most pregnant remarks Jesus ever makes about the state of a person’s heart comes when he tells Paul “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”

Guys like Darul Davis make it hard for KKK to kick against the goads. He’s following in MLK’s footsteps–and in Christ’s. God bless him.

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