Around the Christmas and New Years holidays, it is common for us to express the desire for "peace on earth". Do you realize that God's workers for peace are Christians? Us? So don't just wish it, roll up your sleeves.
1. There Will be Conflict
If you are serious about spiritual growth, then you will be serious about loving others. Love always means getting closer to others who we'll find are different and sometimes challenging. Conflict will happen. Though strenuous, it needn't be overwhelming or exhausting.
How will you respond? Most of us have a natural tendency to address conflict in a particularly unhelpful way, so it is important to avoid 3 attitudes that ultimately hurt your growth: "I don't have the energy", "I'm right", and "Change now".
January 1, 2023 |
2. Peace on My Terms [period]
Just about everyone is a fan of peace, so long as peace is on their terms. Is it God's will that we only accept people if they are totally agreeing and practicing what we think is correct? No. Just as Jesus welcomes us and is with us despite our failures, peacemakers welcome others as they are, and not as we wish them to be.
January 8, 2023 |
3. Delivering Truth, Peacefully
The truth of God is immense. If truth were the size of the Sun, God has revealed truth to humanity that is about the size of a pea. I've received some of this truth and I'm still receiving it.
God seems to progressively reveal truth to us, and each nugget of truth that is received is powerful and disrupts our course of life. So, how are we to deliver truth to others, particularly when it seems their life could use it? We are peacemakers, and we deliver truth in peaceful ways to people who are hungry for truth. (Forcing truth down someone's throat, or insisting that they obey, is not peaceful).
January 15, 2023 |
4. Advising Others in Conflict
When a person is in conflict, they will frequently seek out others to provide counsel and guidance. If someone in conflict comes to you, then you will be getting one side of the story and it is easy to get drawn into the corner of the person you are speaking with.
But, peacemakers are not in one person's corner or the other, but rather in God's corner which is the corner advocating for a healthy resolution of the conflict. So, it is important to be a wise counsel, understand that you are only getting one side of the story, and remain impartial.
January 22, 2023 |
5. Walk Away From the Conflict
There is a well-known idiom that comes from the military, and it asks a question "Is this the hill you want to die on?". Our culture has a warring, competitive mindset that fights over even trivial matters, introducing conflict on insignificant points, and ultimately causing unnecessary stress and hurt.
Conflict will happen, but does it need to happen so often? Put another way, it is important to practice walking-away from trivial conflict - the kinds of conflict that don't grow into pent-up bitterness, prejudice, or anger.
(This could be a good message for those who tend to FIGHT when seeing a conflict).
February 5, 2023 |
2 Timothy 2:23
6. Taking The Initiative
Many times, we might use one grade to assess the health of our relationship with God, and another to measure our relationship with others. So, we might award ourselves an A+ with God, while having a string of F- relationships with many around us. God doesn't describe such a separation, for the love that seeks to connect with God is the same love that seeks to connect to even our enemies.
This is what makes the message of Matthew 5:23-24 so eye-opening. Our relational health with others gives us clarity about our health with God, similar to John's message in 1 John 4:20.
(This could be a good message for those who tend to FLEE from conflict).
February 12, 2023 |
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