Guest author: Kyle Slone
Bob Marley was one of the most inspirational men of his time. He contended vigorously with his music against the social and political warfare that was destroying his people. He was a peacemaker, which was derived from his devout spirituality in which he committed to the Rastafarian movement and later baptized into Christianity shortly before his death. Marley loved people and believed worldwide peace could be achieved through love, ideology, and non-violent methods. However, many viewed Bob Marley as a simple, low-class, black man who sat around with other Jamaicans and smoked marijuana and played reggae music. Others viewed him as a social/political failure that made no real impact in the world. But Marley risked his life every day for peace, and later was awarded the Peace Medal of the Third War by the United Nations in 1978, as well as the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1981. His many accomplishments in music proved his renowned worldwide influence and his efforts to achieve peace.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
As we look at the example and efforts of Bob Marley, we know that peace is more than a consideration but a way of action. The Beatitudes are statements that describe the true nature of a Christian character, and each statement Jesus made demands specific attention. Dr. Grant Richison, in his “Verse for Verse Commentary,” concerning Matthew 5:9, explains that the “value of Christianity is to help people at odds with one another find harmony with each other. Many love peace but few make peace. Most of us prefer to evade conflict. A peacemaker faces issues head on; he is active, not passive toward issues” (Richison). Two days before a scheduled concert to ease conflict in Jamaica, Bob Marley was shot multiple times. When asked why he performed despite his gunshot injuries, he said: “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren't taking a day off. How can I?” (“The shooting of a Wailer”). This is the effort of a “peacemaker,” the very description of the “sons of God.” So next time you consider yourself a “peacemaker,” consider the actions you took to achieve peace, were they passive? Or were they active? Society is in desperate need of peacemakers that Jesus is talking about. Too much war, too much conflict, and too little actions that Christians should be taking leadership in. “Me only have one ambition, y'know. I only have one thing I really like to see happen. I like to see mankind live together - black, white, Chinese, everyone - that's all” (Bob Marley).