Explain how the virtue of courage connects to the beatitude "Blessed are the Peacemakers".

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larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A more correct interpretation, I think, is that it takes courage not to respond in anger to a situation when one is provoked; thereby one may avoid conflict and become a person of peace. It is perhaps best illustrated by Jesus admonition in the Sermon on the Mount:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

St Paul used a similar admonition in his epistle to the Romans, Chapter 12:

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Much later, Mahatma Gandhi stated that "an eye for an eye leaves both blind." His policy of non-violence, and that of Martin Luther King, Jr., required a tremendous amount of courage, to accept humiliation and violence and not return violence in turn. By responding peacefully to violence, each became a peace maker. It is no small wonder that Gandhi and Dr. King, both bastions of courage, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their peaceful responses to wrongs. Those who have the courage to respond this way are indeed blessed.

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a great question. First, it is important to note that the beatitudes come from the gospels in the New Testament - Matthew and Luke. These are the teachings of Jesus.

Second, if we think of courage and peacemaking, then there is a direct correlation. I would say that the correlation is that making peace often entails courage, because it is easier to do nothing in the face of conflict. In conflict it is very possible for a person to get caught in the cross fire. In other words, peace makers can get brutally hurt.

Third, conflict resolution is hard. There is a reason why two sides are fighting. There is some sort of deep enmity. Therefore, to seek to reconcile this will not be easy at all. Think of the work of Desmond Tutu in Africa or Nelson Mandela in South Africa. They had to endure so much. Courage was essential.

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