Sunday, November 15, 2009

Growing Roots... Being a Peacemaker

Today I was again challenged by Pastor Kevin's series on Growing Roots. His emphasis today was on the Beatitudes and, in particular, being a peacemaker.

Be honest. When you think of peacemaking, what comes to mind? Over the past several decades, our cultural evolution has gradually turned the idea of peace into something passive. The pursuit of peace is now fundamentally equated with acceptance and tolerance with the goal of living in harmony. As a result, it is not as politically correct to use assertive means to pursue peace.

Ultimately, the root cause of this issue is the slippery slope that has been made out of absolute truth. Without absolute truth, no one can claim to have a better way, and, therefore, all ways are equal and deserving of respect.

On a more personal level, I have seen this play out in my relationships. In my younger years, I was a conflict avoider. When I experienced an interpersonal conflict, I found it easier and less stressful to ignore differences in opinion and personality. I played a passive role in my attempt to maintain the peace. Unfortunately, this strategy did not bring about peace and my relationships remained broken. And my end goal - harmony - was impossible to attain.

As I've matured, I have come to understand that peacemaking is an active process. I realize that unresolved conflict sabotages relationships, and broken relationships affect teamwork and unity. I recognize that it is impossible to foster peace by remaining passive when conflict arises, and it inevitably will arise! Relationships require work, and peace is an active process.

My encouragement to you when you experience conflict is this: Don't take the "easy" way out and passively avoid it. When you experience conflict, acknowledge it. Be intentional to voice its presence and vigilant in your efforts to alleviate it. That is the truly the only way to bring about harmony.

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