Prepare for Peace

Here is a summary of some key things Jesus says about peace, with Bible references. There are many more, and we recommend you check out the resource section for even more material on what Mennonites say and believe about peace. And don’t miss the Stories of Peace┬ásection (new stories monthly) because that’s what really counts–how real people live out these ideas.

The Hebrew word “shalom” conveys what God planned for the creation. Shalom means that people are in a good relationship with God, with themselves and their bodies, with their neighbors (all other people), and with the earth. For people to be in shalom means that their life is balanced and that they relate to the whole of what surrounds them with a peaceful spirit. Humans were the most special part of God’s creation. However, in Old Testament days there was a lot of bloodshed, mind-numbing atrocities, rape and war after war. There are also many beautiful images and visions of peace in the Old Testament. The most well-known may be a description of the peaceable kingdom in Isaiah 11, with lines that include, “The wolf shall live with the lamb” (verse 6). Another promise/vision is in Leviticus 26:6, “And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid.” (See also Zephaniah 3:13.)

We sometimes gloss over these visions of peace as impossible and idealistic. But the more people are inspired by a vision for peace, the more realistic these words become.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also” (Matthew 5:38-39).

Read all of Matthew 5.