I’ve been waiting for this week to arrive since we started blogging about the Beatitudes. If there is one beatitude that was instilled in my mind and heart from an early age, it was this one.
As the oldest of 3 children, I often found myself in arguments with my younger brother or sister. No matter what the disagreement or who was to blame, the punishment was always the same. It was the worst punishment imaginable to a 7 year old. My brother (or sister) and I had to HUG each other…
for 5 minutes.
5 minutes of continuous hugging.
5 minutes… that felt like an eternity.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, while hugging one another, we also had to recite Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
My brother and I grew quite snarky in our “reverence” for this particular verse over the years. However, by the end of the five minutes, no matter how mad we had been at each other at the beginning, we were usually laughing and poking each other and were ready to go play again.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
I wasn’t a huge fan of this punishment as a child, but as an adult I see many of the larger theological and social implications of what my mother was trying to teach us. While hugging one another will not likely solve all of our problems in the world, it does remind us that staying in relationship with one another even when we are angry, even when we can’t stand each other… can often be an important step toward finding peace. It reminds me that love for each other is not just a feeling… it is an action. It reminds me that making peace in my life often involves uncomfortable conversations and a persistence and commitment to listen to others. Above all, it is a reminder that relationships and mending relationships is a crucial part of making peace in the world.