Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 1, 2019
Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
I grew up in a home where no one knew how to resolve conflict. In fact, any semblance of peacemaking after disagreements was absent.
Here’s how it went down in the Schutte household:
My father would get mad about something. He’d yell, and my mother, brother, sister, and I would all scurry away into faraway parts of the house like fearful mice. When his anger would subside, we’d slowly come out from hiding, and no one would say a word about what happened.
It’s not a surprise that I didn’t learn how to solve relational problems.
My dad wasn’t a horrible man and he loved us, but he didn’t know how to express his displeasure. Yelling was the only way he knew how to communicate when something upset him. He didn’t understand how to talk it out.
This repeated dysfunctional experience, coupled with being a people-pleasing middle kid who struggled with a huge fear of rejection, made me completely unprepared for conflict as an adult. I just didn’t know how to do it. The thought of confrontation terrified me—so I avoided it as much as possible.
But (hallelujah!) the Lord has been so faithful to teach me new ways of living in His light. Over the last ten years or so, he has been showing me how to solve conflict and be a joyful peacemaker.
And . . . I never thought I would say this, but peacemaking can be a whole lot-o-fun. There’s something about pressing into a problem and seeking to solve it in a godly way with someone that is liberating! It makes me feel so good knowing I’m not afraid to address the “elephant on the couch” put my big girl, “I’m-trusting-Jesus” pants on, and face the conflict monster that used to terrify me.
Here are a few specific things I love about peacemaking (resolving conflict and reconciling broken relationships.)
When you press into conflict with the intent to make peace with another person(s) and glorify God, you get above the problem so that it doesn’t have power over you. Confronting the issue head on—in a loving way of course—puts you in a position of strength.
But avoiding does the opposite.
Avoiding feeds fear and makes you feel like a victim where you’re being controlled by circumstances and others.
But when you seek to make peace, and even when the other party doesn’t respond the way you hoped and they don’t share your desire for reconciliation, it’s okay because you did what you needed to do.
When you go like Jesus commands you to, when you calmly invite the other person to share their perspective, when you don’t shy away, run in fear, or shut down out of terror, and you go with a heart of reconciliation and love. . .wow! There is such amazing joy and freedom in that!
Do you need to change your perspective about conflict resolution and see peacemaking as an honor?
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace” (James 3:17-18).
Lord, even during those times when your command to live in peace is difficult, please help me to do my part. I know that following your way is not only good for those around me, it honors you, but it blesses me too. Amen.
Do you need to reach out to someone to make peace today? Do the hard thing and go in humility and love. Then, thank Him for the joy of peacemaking. Amen.
Avoidance feeds fear and makes you feel like a victim when you’re being controlled by circumstances, but Christ’s love gives you peace. #WisdomHunters #peacemaking #Jesus
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