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Doing Life Together

couch-1868755_1920When John and Sue began to argue over a conflict involving parenting, Sue’s mom physically put herself between the two. She then quoted Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” Both spouses were taken aback. They were having a conflict and trying to resolve it. But Sue’s mom hated conflict and believed that any disagreement was disturbing the peace. Sue’s mom was misapplying the verse because of her discomfort with conflict.

Being a peacemaker doesn’t mean avoiding conflict. In fact, in order to bring peace, you have to have conflict. In a very helpful sermon, Pastor Rick Warren talked about what it means to be a peacemaker. This weekend, Chris and I discuss the steps of peacemaking. Both of us agree, it is always good to begin with prayer.

If you hate conflict, pray that you will have the courage to bring up important issues and address them with your spouse or people you love. If you don’t bring up conflicts, you can’t resolve issues and be reconciled to the person. The temptation might be to wait until the other person brings up an issue, but don’t wait. Only children fight about who goes first. You go first and follow the Matthew 18 principle of going to a person to address a conflict.

Then, listen and try to understand the perspective of the other person. Don’t think about how to defend yourself, rather try to understand where that person is coming from and why they are upset. The more you understand someone, the more patient you will be and less quick to get angry.

Next, take responsibility for your part of the problem. Think about James 4:1 “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” James tells us that it is our selfish desires. When I am self-centered, I can easily get into quarrels. But when I am at peace with God, I can disagree without being disagreeable.

Now, speak the truth in love—not in harsh words because harsh words stir up anger. Focus the conversation on solutions, not changing the other person. At worse, agree to disagree if you can’t find a solution.

Finally, remind yourself of the importance of being a peacemaker. God is calling you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

 

 

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