Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 23, 2017
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
There are some things you can avoid in life. You can avoid long lines at the bookstore; just purchase what you want to read online. You can avoid eating a pile of cookies; just don’t buy them. You can avoid getting trick-or-treaters; you can just leave the house on the evening of October 31st. But there are some things in life that you just can’t avoid, no matter how much you don’t like them. Conflict is one of those things. It comes knocking on everyone’s front door at some time or another and it isn’t polite. It just comes right in and sits down on the couch. And, when that happens you have a couple choices: you can allow it to stay and really make a mess of your life and emotions, or you can handle it God’s way and experience peace.
When I was growing up, I reeeeeallly disliked conflict. I was a middle kid and my mantra was, “Why can’t we all just get along?” I did everything I knew how to solve conflict with others, which often included trying to avoid the problem by being extra nice. Can you imagine that this didn’t work?! It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I learned that my avoidance tactics didn’t help at all. All they did was make me feel like an insecure victim who was afraid of people and that made other people uncomfortable. I didn’t understand that peacemaking and avoiding aren’t the same. Instead, peacemakers are often proactive. They are willing to make the first move toward the person with whom they are having the conflict.
Okay, I know this is difficult. Who likes to have that hard conversation or that difficult meeting? Who likes to be the one who initiates when they would rather retreat and hope the whole messy mess goes away? No one. But the wise person knows that conflict usually doesn’t resolve itself. They know if they refuse to settle the conflict they will personally suffer because they won’t experience peace. And, they also know they will be blessed.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Peacemakers aren’t just blessed because God commands us to make peace. They are also blessed because the peace they create always comes rolling back to them, filling up their hearts. But holding onto offenses and grudges does the exact opposite. Bitterness and anger have no benefits. There is absolutely no blessing in not handling conflict—or handling it in the wrong way.
Peacemaking takes self-control. It means that I don’t open my mouth and spout off meanness in response to meanness (1 Peter 3:9). Instead, it takes maturity to hold your tongue or keep your fingers off the computer keyboard when you would rather shoot back a snarky response.
Peacemaking takes courage. Peacemaking takes wisdom. Peacemaking takes maturity. Be that person. Not just for the other person, but for God –and for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
PrayerLord, help me to be a peacemaker. I want to experience your peace in my life, I want to please you and I want to be a blessing. Give me the courage and the wisdom I need to solve conflict your way. Amen.
ApplicationLook up the related readings about resolving conflict and put them into action.
Related ReadingRomans 12:18-21; Mark 9:50; Matthew 5:23-24
Post/Tweet todayPeacemakers are proactive, they make the first move to resolve conflict. #WisdomHunters #peacemakers
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I need to practice this daily. I tend to spout off at comments on FB and I should just let it go. This was a much needed read today.
Thank you A.J., for your honest comments after reading “When You Wish That Conflict Would Disappear”. I believe you are speaking for many in our Wisdom Hunter’s family (humbly I admit, including me) who also needed to read this devotional!
Shana wrote a “call to action” for those of us who need a Christ-like way to handle conflict (boldness and humility).
We are thankful for you and look forward to hearing from you again!
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
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