PEACE! Now there's a word that seems to be missing lately. All around us, from the news to our neighborhoods, it seems as if that word has been evasive. It saddens my soul to see all this violence and people at odds with each other. I know, it spans history. Yes, even in Biblical times there was a lack of peace. Yet, one would think that as mankind progresses with incredible technology and so many other wonderful discoveries, that peace would be one we could wrap our heads around.
To say that we all should go out and be peacemakers, then, is a pretty tall order from God. Especially peacemakers in our nation today. That can seem like a huge order - one that isn't attainable. Yet, I believe God provides each of us ways to be peacemakers in our daily lives, and these are some ways we can share His richness with others.
Of course, if we are part of the problem, it means time for self-reflection. I am always for standing up for what you believe in, but are you engaging in a conflict for something that truly matters? I mean, to engage in a disagreement over how to load the dishwasher may not be the greatest use of your energy. Maybe it is your timing versus their timing? Maybe it is too cold versus too hot? Whatever the small disagreements may be, consider the opportunity of making peace instead of making conflict. Sometimes giving in to the small things in life can lead to less heartache for all involved. I know I had to learn this one!!
Also, when it comes to ourselves, there are many ways that we can help to "keep the peace". Proverbs 14:29 helps me to reflect when my need to be right leads me to a need to fight, and not a path to peace. "Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly." Not bad advice from the Old Testament. I know there are times when my patience is not where it should be and I am not displaying great understanding. Yes, sad to admit, it does lead to me being a fool! I have found that apologizing does help - it does help to bring peace (but I'm sure my family would appreciate me having a bit more patience to begin with!!).
Yet, sometimes the conflict doesn't include us - it may be with those around us. Have you ever noticed that when they are disagreements between people, that many times they are "closer" to thinking the same thing or believing the same thing? Yet, they don't actually LISTEN to each other, thereby resulting in much conflict. Facilitating a conversation between people (not talking for them), can be a great way to provide peace. Doing this gives both parties a chance to say what they need to say, but then each party actually has to spend time listening as well. Many times, doing this can provide harmony that may have been missed.
Let's not look past the second half of the verse where peacemakers are considered children of God. I don't know about you, but I exalt in being called God's child. It always puts a smile on my face. As a child who wants to make their parents proud, don't we want our heavenly Father to be proud of the way we behave? Whether it is having a bit of self-reflection on how I can bring peace during a conflict or whether it is the opportunity to assist others in bringing peace, let us not forget the importance of prayer through ALL types of conflict. Prayer helps us to discern, helps to guide, helps to bring peace. May we always help to provide opportunity for peace, in all situations.
Heavenly Father, help me to pray for peace. Whether it is a situation where I am engaged as part of the conflict or whether I can help others towards peace, we know that peace leads us closer to you and closer to your will. Give us opportunities where we can be peacemakers, God, and help us to be children you are proud of. In your gracious name we pray, Amen.