Thoughts on Peacemaking, 12/19

  • What do Adam, Cain, Judas, and Babylon all have in common? The inability to be satisfied. If you cant be satisfied, it is hard to remain under the protection of God’s Holy Spirit, and be saved by “The Prince of Peace.”
  • Isn’t it weird how “peace that transcends all understanding” has a common tendency of making easily upset people anxious?
  • Condemning others when you witness or detect their sin is wrong for a variety of reasons, but one reason that is rarely discussed is because if you condemn someone, you cannot learn from their mistakes. If you see yourself as similar enough to someone who has stumbled to learn from them and discern what God might be trying to teach you in those moments of recognition, you are a lot better off. Condemning a brother or sister, even in your heart, will lead you to address your own hard heartedness instead of unraveling some kind of lesson that their sin might teach you, or blessing them by being kind to them anyways. It’s like a Red herring strategy that Satan does in order for us to not love our neighbors and forget that they are fellow children of God. If we judge them instead of learn from them and receive divine instruction, we will catch ourselves in the same kinds of traps, and not understand what God is trying to teach us there. It’s a lot easier to judge than recognize your own sin, and listen. If listening is the only way you can be saved from a similar sin yourself, what good is it to judge others? What good does it do to someone who is still being bound by their sin? It shows no forgiveness. It is worse than useless.
  • Worship is any act that is done in sincere reverence to God. You can worship doing just about anything, so long as it is for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • The more you love God, the less you will feel as though you are missing out when something doesn’t go your way. Even when you have problems that by most diagnoses are pretty serious, if you realize what a precious gift you have in the Lord, you will feel weird by how little such things bother you. This is the blessing you get when you serve the Lord with your full heart: that even though struggles persist, you feel rich in spite of them.
  • To be honest, I believe whole heartedly that the solution to basically any problem is to do your best to love God more, and see what happens. That might mean loving him through grief, or doubt, or misery, or anger, or betrayal, or all sorts of other painful places. Yet when we invest in loving God to the best of our abilities in hard situations, he remembers us. It reminds me of Mark 12:42, and the story of the Poor Widow with 2 minas as her offering. Comparatively to the rest of her temple, hers was the smallest offering, but it was the biggest portion of what she had: she gave all that she had to live off of to the Lord. While God doesn’t expect our faith to always be easy, I believe he honors those people who stick it out when any amount of worship or thanksgiving is all they have to give. Having come out of years of clinical depression and feeling like the walking dead myself, I believe that God progressively took any joy I was able to offer and multiplied it for his own glory. Though I am no longer living in hell, I know that he is constantly present and mindful of people who are currently suffering. He forgets no one, and he is always willing to help, even if it takes longer than you want it to. Even if it hurts to praise, Satan can’t touch joy, and being grateful is the best antidote to fear that I know of, along with laughter. It seems contrived and taxing, but you end up with a lot more than where you started.
  • Even if you have to swallow your pride and be called “wrong” falsely, it is better to be a peacemaker who is unfairly accused than a person who wins fair and square but is belligerent. Righteousness belongs to God. All we can do is steward our responses, and try to introduce as much reconciliation as possible into turmoil. As per Mathew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (NIV).
  • The world says that the ideal solution to a disagreement is being smarter, stronger, bolder, more articulate, and better liked than your opponent. God ends up using our interpersonal conflicts in a way that humbles us, giving us the opportunity to serve a person who we consider our enemy in order to help shoulder their load, and act as stewards of the good news in their life. If you allow God to use you, you can change someone’s perception of a problem, rather than punishing them for not getting your own way. Perfectly satisfied, perfectly healed people do not seek conflict, but none of us is like that without the intercession of God. If we fight with someone, deliberately show mercy, take time to deliberately pray for them, and serve them once we are given the opportunity to help even if it isn’t about us being right, then we have the opportunity to lighten some poor soul’s burden. If we are resentful and cling to our own self-righteousness, we are advancing ourselves instead of God’s kingdom.

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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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