Our God has been a God of peace and justice from the beginning. You can read through the first chapter of Genesis and realise how beautiful was the world he created, how just and peaceful. This is the character of our God. He is good. He is peaceful. Everything complements each other. Humans and the rest of creation.
From the beginning, this is who our God is.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
God heard his people suffering and he liberated them and brought them to the promised land and he sent his only son to liberate us from oppression and slavery of sin.
When He talked to Moses, he said: “I have heard my people cry! I have heard their injustice.” And He commissioned Moses to liberate the people. God didn’t just remind them of their faith, he took them from their oppression (Exodus 3: 7-10).
To me, Christmas is about this liberation and freedom. Emmanuel is God is with us. It is a season of love and kindness and compassion.
As we continue to be reminded of our God's presence and strive to live our life showing God's love to everyone, we also remember our role as God's people to be peacemakers in our world (Mathew 5:9) and be the voice for the voiceless (Proverb 31:8).
For me, peace-building has been a journey of faith. I find my motivation for peace building in the teachings of Jesus – loving those who are different from you, forgiving those who hurt you and practising nonviolence.
We use the term ‘Justpeace’ in our work. It’s when peace is seen as relational. It goes beyond a passive peace – when you just want no conflict. Justpeace is when you apply justice into the equation. You need to balance both together.
Mony says: “We started this ministry when our country received a peace agreement after many years of war and fighting. After the Pol Pot regime, families would stick together because we were afraid we would be separated again. Then when our society started to get better, and we started to get more independent, fractures started to happen in the family. That is also what began to happen in Cambodian churches. We had more than 50 years of war – so we had learned all these unhealthy attitudes and behaviours.
When Peace Bridges started we created materials and workshops to enable churches to reconcile. Teaching Christians not to judge, to respect other perspectives. Then we realised that there was huge violence around us, and we decided to widen our work to the community and other faith groups.
Now we also address structural violence – human rights violation, forced evictions, forced land grabbing, conflict in deforestation and fishing. We equip people to start on the journey of personal transformation – to become peace makers and work towards a community goal.
TEAR Australia has been one of our key funding partners since we began in 2003.”