Peacemaker vs. Peacekeeper

A Peace Maker has healthy boundaries.

Did you know there’s a major difference between Peace Making and Peace Keeping? This was a big revelation for me when I was taught this. I always thought I was being a Peacemaker, as instructed in the Bible. However, the way I was going about it was all wrong. I was actually just “keeping the peace”. This is a typical issue for those with the Gift of Mercy as their main Spiritual Gift. (It’s me – I’m “those people”).

A Peace Keeper is one who will do anything to not rock the boat. Peacekeepers tend to just let people have their way, even if it hurts themselves. As long as the people around them are “happy”, they feel they have accomplished their job. A peacekeeper generally ends up pretty anxious and on high alert. They are always looking for ways to “fix it” for their loved ones. It hurts them more to see others uncomfortable than for themselves to be in constant pain.

The Peace Maker on the other hand knows how to set boundaries. A Peace Makers boundaries are not “peace at any cost” for them, it is Peace in as far as they are able. A peacemaker understands that they are only responsible for their own behavior and responses. While both are trying to help, a peacemaker understands what is truly helpful. A Peacemaker is someone who has a good balance of the Gift of Discernment with their Gift of Mercy.

Wisdom in Peacemaking

James 3:17 & 18 made this come alive for me.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness

James 3;17 & 18 NIV

The wisdom of Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving… Peacemakers have wisdom. They sow in peace by making sure they are responding first of all in Purity. A Peace Makers boundaries are healthy and strong. A Peace Keeper will end up sacrificing purity to keep the peace. This is not wisdom and will result in all kinds of mess. Peace Keepers tend to end up in abusive relationships and are very sucseptible to trauma bonding. A peacemaker on the other hand will have healthy boundaries to keep the purity of themselves, their homes and their loved ones in tact first.

Peacekeeping and trauma bonds

Think of someone in a Peace Keeper’s life that they already know is toxic as a wolf. The Peace Keeper is safe in their house, with their fence guarding the yard and the sheep in it. They know this person is toxic because they have already been through traumatic experiences or abuse at this person’s hand. However, they are still trauma bonded and have not learned yet how to transition to peacemaker.

When the wolf comes in sheeps clothing the peacekeeper tends to choose to let him in, in hopes he will behave as a sheep. That hope for the other person to be happy, especially to be happy with them, causes them to weaken the boundaries. They feel they are being cautious by watching and seeing, dealing with things if they come up. They will say things like, “I’m keeping my eye on it, I won’t let it escalate.” The problem is the wolf is already in with the sheep. The shepherdess does not have control over the wolf, she let go of her control of the situation as soon as she opened the gate. She has just set herself up for another crisis situation.

Peace Makers and boundaries

We must be Peace Makers – keeping the boundaries just because they are the safe boundaries that have been set. For example, following the law because it is the law. Doing what is Pure before what our emotions tell us is “nice”. When someone has already proven themselves toxic we don’t let them in the gate. When we are meeting new people as peacemakers, we need to remember they need to earn the more inner circles. Keeping your boundaries is not mean. Trusting your gut and keeping people in the outer circles for a time is not paranoid.

Boundaries are there to keep us and our loved ones safe. These same boundaries actually help the wolf to stay safely on his side too. Sometimes this means the wolf does get help and learn how to be a loyal companion, but he cannot do that among the sheep while still in his wild state. The boundaries, though to a person with the gift of mercy feels mean, are actually the kindest thing you can do. Both for yourself and for the wild wolf, as well as the members of your “yard” you are responsible for.

Peace Maker - a shepherdess with sheep in pen
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Shifting from Peace Keeper to Peace Maker

“So, I’m just doomed to be a keeper and always hurt then? My gift is Mercy, it’s how God made me!”

No, you are not doomed. You are informed now, and so you have the power to change it! While you have Mercy as your main gift, that is not all there is to it. You can purposly learn to utilize the other gifts and grow them you can become a Peace Maker. Starting with Discernment is best in this case. Taking every thought captive and analyzing it against scripture is the best way to build discernment. You can shift your responses from Keeper to Maker. It will take time and intentional effort, but it can definately be done.

God has promised to give us wisdom if we only ask for it. It is available throughout his word. Remember – wisdom that comes from Heaven if first of all pure. Get to know your Bible, study what things are Pure. Take each thought and situation and filter it through that. Never sacrifice Purity for “peace”. Keep in mind, just as there is a difference between peace keeping and peace making, there is a difference between being kind and being nice. Boundaries are kind – even when they make the Mercy gifted feel like they are being mean.

What are some other tips you have for learning how to set boundaries? Where do you struggle most in being a peacemaker?


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