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“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
Being a peacemaker is not a passive, quiet stance.
In fact, the Scriptures describe peace through a very different perspective. Peace is likened to a river (Isaiah 66:12)—unstoppable, flowing, covering rocks and debris, shaping its own course. It is the God of peace who will soon crush the evil one under his feet (Romans 16:20). Peace is the part of the armor upon which we stand, the footwear allowing us to be ready for challenges ahead (Ephesians 6:15). And Jesus ultimately leaves his disciples with his peace in preparing them for his departure and the work ahead (John 14:27).
Peace is a more powerful force in terms of intensity and impact than any oppression. It is for this reason justice-seekers must be carriers of peace, makers of peace and dwellers in peace. We must be marked by peace and thereby known as children of the Prince of Peace himself.
CEBU, THE PHILIPPINES – With a bright smile, Marian* mentors girls recently rescued from sex trafficking in the Philippines. She is eager to help them learn how to regain confidence and joy, because she knows what they are experiencing. Marian is a survivor herself.
“It was as if I was no longer in this world.”
Marian was born into a large family, with little to go around. She dropped out of school in fourth grade, and she moved to Cebu City to help earn money when she was 16. On her own for the first time, Marian was tricked and trapped in a bar where she was sold for sex.
She later compared her life in that bar to a tree that has lost its leaves—“practically dead.” She said, “It [was] as if I was no longer in this world.”
Four months after the nightmare began, Marian and 19 other young women were rescued. The police called IJM after the rescue operation for legal advice and to help provide aftercare for the trafficking survivors.
As Marian settled into a long-term government aftercare shelter, she was rebellious and acted out. She was defiant and did not trust anyone. It is not unusual for trafficking survivors to struggle with anger, confusion or even a desire to return to their lives in the places they were abused. Traumafocused therapy and months, if not years, of patient counsel from dedicated social workers is critical to helping survivors rebuild trust and regain their sense of self-worth.
As the months passed, Marian started to bloom. She found comfort and joy as she participated in church services the aftercare home held for the community, even learning guitar so she could help lead the singing. Within two years, Marian caught up in her studies and passed the exam she needed to take to get into college.
Everything is different in Marian’s life today. She says, “There is now happiness and joy that earthly things could never give; that joy which no matter where you go, you know there is someone watching over you, someone cares for you.”
- How has God called you to be a peacemaker?
- What is difficult about envisioning peace that’s not passive and calm?
- How might Marian’s newfound peace in spite of her suffering impact others?
- Read Ephesians 6:13-20. What opportunities has God given you to use peace as your armor in your community?
- Pray for supernatural peace for those fighting against injustice as they confront great evil.
- Pray for those struggling to find peace after experiencing violent abuse.
- Pray for strong partnerships between IJM and the government, law enforcement and court officials in the countries where IJM works. Pray that these officials will create systemic change that will protect the rights and dignity of all people in their communities and bring peace and security to their regions.