Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
Martin Luther King Jr.
If you want trust, trust others. If you want respect, respect others. If you want help, help others. If you want love and peace in your life, give them away. If you want great friends, be one. That's how it works.
Way # 18 We choose to be peacemakers, even when we feel like arguing!
Traveling through parts of Austria and Poland the past three weeks has truly restored deep places in my heart. As a young missionary in Communist these Communist countries many years ago, I cut my teeth on discipleship, "making disciples of all nations", learning to live by faith in a very foreign place, and holding fast to my Bible.
One of my surprises, however, was the conflict and issues, at times amongst the missionaries themselves. Young and inexperienced, I believed that if someone was brave and courageous enough to go into the mission field, they would probably be "super-human" and "super- spiritual." And yet, living overseas can be so very stressful that it magnifies difficulties. And so this was the place I began to learn the importance of peacemaking, when disharmony and discord entered into the relationships on my staff team. Most were maturing believers, but all were in need of the mercy and grace of God.
This time, even as I travelled by train and car through many very old villages, I noticed that each was enclosed by walls to protect the people inside the hamlets from enemies. Fighting, warring, arguing is one of the foundational evidences that this is the world separated from God. We war against each other because we are self-centered, focussed on our own agenda, our own well-being as opposed to focussing on serving and bringing harmony to others. Do not be surprised by relational conflict--it is a mark of the fallen world. And as believers, we are called to redeem broken places.
You will notice in this particular 4 rules that each begins with "We choose."
It is a choice of our will, an obedience of conscience where we serve God by doing what is right. Maturity in Christ is learning to do what is right because righteousness is so instilled in the pathways of our minds and hearts. When we memorize God's word and wisdom principles, then when we encounter,animosity, (and we do daily), our minds will already have a truth to go to so that we can have wisdom in behaving as Christ would have us. Truth, understanding and obedience are partners in peacemaking.
Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God." Matthew 5:19
What a defining verse--by becoming peacemakers, we will be observed to be the true reflection that we are God's sons. But the verse also implies that peace is not easy--it is a "work" of life--it must be made.
Every relationship is between 2 selfish people if they are alive. The question in relationship is not who is right, but who will make peace and give grace and forgive. Making peace starts inside with a decision that says, "I can become a vehicle to bring peace and to restore this relationship if I am willing to humble myself and reach out."
Whether marriage, friendship, family, colleagues, or as parents, peacemaking--the act of choosing to reach out in the work of restoration comes from a heart that worships God.
I love this verse: "For He Himself is our peace," Ephesians 2:14
He made Jesus, who knew no sin, to become peace on our behalf. if this is the greatest work of Jesus life, to give it all that we might have peace with the Father, helping our children to learn to make peace with one another, is one of the most profound ways they can show others what God is like and then come to deeply appreciate what God has done for them, because they will see how much it cost Him the older they become.
We gently, consistently, peacefully, instruct our children in becoming peacemakers. We teach them that there is a cost to making peace with others--the cost of bowing our own hearts to our pride and becoming willing to serve the one with whom we have conflict.
Adults must exemplify this peace-making lifestyle if children are going to understand and become like God.
How heartbreaking it is to see supposed leaders participate in gossip, pointing fingers, accusing--while thinking they are justified in their criticism, when all along they are harming the reputation of Christ and Christianity.
Blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus said, Something that we all need to ponder anew--today, with our children, our spouses, our friends, even our enemies. We cannot force others to make peace with us any more than Jesus could force the Pharisees to leave him alone. Yet, each of us must make attempts to have peace with others, as far as is possible. But one last admonishment comes from Paul:
"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." Romans 12:18
So, we teach these peace principles to our children when they are fussing, when friends or a family member has hurt their feeling, when they have been unjustly criticized. Peace training protects a child, as an adult, from making rash decisions in relationships and instead teaches him the pathways of peace-making.
The memory verse this week is profound. God's wisdom--insight and understandable truth--is pure, peaceable and gentle. May the Holy Spirit quicken our hearts to obey and practice this truth, that we might bridge the gaps in our relationships with the love of God.
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits,unwavering, without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Are there any relationships God is pressing on your heart that you need to restore?
Is there anything keeping you from making peace with those who are in conflict with you? Do you need to humble yourself or forgive the other person? If I have learned anything from the heart of Jesus, is that when I choose to obey what He shows me in His word, ultimately is brings me peace and deep joy. I do not have to carry hate or bitterness--He will relieve me from them when I accept His will for me to make peace.
I pray today that many of you will make peace with those in your life who are far away and can be restored. And that you will have His grace, no matter what the results. In making peace, you will become like the son of God!
What are your most challenging issues in making peace with those in your life you share conflict? What keeps you from becoming a peacemaker? Remember, your children don't just hear the words of your messages, they watch live out these important messages in real life every day.
It was in light of so much response from Mentoring Mondays that I wrote 10 Gifts. Hope you are encouraged!
To answer so many questions: I will be formatting it for a print book eventually when my schedule allows time, since so many of you have requested this. Please forgive us for the problem with some of you not getting the .99 sale. When my designer changed the old blog over to the new, some times and dates shifted to a day late for the publishing of the blog to the mail boxes. As I am trying to move more to writing and away from always managing, I was not involved in this process. But, as with all of life, there is great potential for glitches. Thanks so much for giving us grace in this. There was nothing I could do from Vienna, but also, I am trying to leave the issues in the hands of people assisting me and I am so grateful for the help. When thousands are involved every day, it is amazing that more does not go wrong. Also, for those overseas who have been asking--even if you do not have Kindles, you can download a kindle app to read the book for free. (https://www.google.com/search?q=Kindle+app+download+for+computers&oq=Kindle+app+download+for+computers&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.15586j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8)
But, you are all so gracious to me in the midst of this weird techno world. Thanks so much. Grace. Selah!