There is a difference between activism and peacemaking.
Activism can sometimes be motivated principally by justice, which is good. Sometimes it can be motivated principally by a kind of anger, even righteous anger. Sometimes it can be motivated principally by vengeance. But as I see it over the past 20 years of this kind of work, the noble work of activism, to see rights restored and wrongs set right, can still miss the mark of peacemaking in light of my faith tradition.
Peacemaking is a direct reflection of the peace one possesses in their heart.
Peacemaking longs for shalom for all, oppressed and oppressor alike. Peacemaking is less about choosing a side and more about choosing the possibilities of human flourishing for all, where every person’s dignity and worth is rediscovered, oppressed and oppressor alike. Therefore, peacemaking is always concerned with revealing and upholding the truth. Therefore, peacemaking needs to see that wrongs are set right and rights are restored. Therefore, peacemaking needs to see justice. Therefore, peacemaking needs to see that systems of oppression and injustice are dismantled. Peacemaking is principally motivated by a desire to see human flourishing for all, enemies and neighbors, because that is what Christ has done for the peacemakers. It is why the peacemakers are called sons and daughters of God.
This is also why a community of peacemakers is stronger than a community of skilled and trained warriors. Peacemakers enter into the fray with abandon and courage, and with hope, and hold within their hearts the possibility of eradicating the violence and fear with love, because we believe that no one is liberated until all are liberated.