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And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the...
June 8, 2016
blessed-peacemakers-cu-todayIn the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:9). Though we live in a world filled with discord, we should take His exhortation to heart and through our peaceful dispositions, let our neighbors feel the positive impact of our Christian faith.

David Cook offers practical advice to Christians trying to live peaceably in their daily lives:

First, resist the temptation to react quickly to conflict. By doing so, we allow ourselves the time needed to process the situation and respond in a Christ-like manner…

It is extremely important that when we find ourselves in conflict, we give ourselves the time to step back, cool down and be able to think cognitively (and spiritually) about the situation. Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement is good advice: “When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” The key is to give yourself time to think about how Christ would truly respond to the conflict.

Second, analyze and assess the underlying contours of the conflict. In seeking to uncover underlying emotional issues, one method I like to use is to think about the basic elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, conflict and themes. Ask yourself questions such as, “Who are the primary participants in the conflict?”; “Is there an outside character who is contributing to the conflict?”; and “How does each character’s personality play into the conflict?”

Then identify what settings are influencing the participants. The main setting may be the workplace, but what factors from outside the workplace play into this conflict? Next, determine the plotline of events that led to this conflict. Explore how the parties got to their present state of anger and frustration. Finally, try to identify the root emotional issues driving the conflict and map out the themes that emerge from the story. By understanding the storyline, you are much better equipped to handle the unique needs of the parties…

Once you have assessed the situation and diffused the raw emotions, the last key role of a peacemaker is to find a Christ-like solution to the conflict. Remember, Christ may call us at times to “turn the other cheek” by giving up some of our own rights for the betterment of both parties. 

In this world, change is constant, and conflict is inevitable. We need the Holy Spirit to help us respond to conflict with humility and patience, and to devise creative solutions that bring about reconciliation, for as Christians we are called to be God’s agents of peace.
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