Your Path to Peace Takes Work
Get over it!
When little kids fight, they flare, they pout, they tattle, and they make up. It’s over! As we get older and get into conflicts, we tend to foster bitterness, hold onto grudges, and plot retaliation.
That is exactly the opposite of God’s desire for us. He created us to live in harmony with Him and with others. Hebrews 12:14-15 specifically says, “WORK (emphasis mine) at living in peace with everyone, … Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
That’s right, we have to WORK at living in peace with everyone cuz we each have opinions and systems we believe are the correct ones. We all have soft spots and past hurts that we want to protect. When we bump into someone who triggers us, it’s super easy for an offense to grow, bitterness to take root and our version of justice to be meted out.
The right – but hard thing to do.
When an offense is blossoming or when bitterness has taken root the right — but hard — thing to do is have a conversation with the person you’re honked at. If you get used to having awkward conversations about little things, you’ll be practiced and brave enough to have a hard conversation when a bigger offense develops.
This past Christmas, as usual, I texted both my grown boys and reminded them to make sure they had Christmas cards in the mail to their grandparents. By implication, I figured they would recognize it as a subtle reminder to send one to me, too. If not a gift, at least a card. After all, I gave them life!
Well. Christmas came and went and nothing from my youngest. New Years was celebrated and nada from him. By mid-January, bitterness and hurt was taking root and I knew I’d have to talk to him.
The awkward conversation.
When he called, I told him,“I’m kinda down. Someone hurt my feelings.”
“Awww, that stinks, Mom. What happened?”
“You didn’t send me a Christmas card.”
Immediately, he said, “Oh, mom, I’m so sorry. It just got away from me. Do you want me to still send you one?”
Without any hesitation, I said, “Yes. Yes I do.”
The next week, I got a lovely non-Christmas card. Since it was mid-January, he had no choice but to improvise. The card had butterflies and blossoms on the front and a beautiful sentiment inside.
Mom, sorry I didn’t get this to you sooner. I love you so much and am very glad I’m your son. You’re the best mom in the world! Love you lots, Eli
One quick awkward conversation cut down a bitter root and restored the peace between us.
God’s plan for peace.
Friend, God knew conflict was going to happen to all of us, so he provided a way of restoring peace and harmony in our hearts and relationships. In Matthew 18:15, the plan is clearly laid out.
“If your brother or sister sins (offends), go and point out their fault (what has you so upset), just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
The Message version says, “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.
Don’t ask 45 other people for an opinion. Don’t post the offense on Facebook or send an angry text. Call or sit down with them and have the conversation so peace can prevail. Explain what happened to upset you and come to an agreement to resolve the conflict.
Who do you need to be at peace with and is there a way to make that happen? Is there a hard conversation you’ve been putting off? May today be the day for your peace to be restored.
Prayer: God, I want to be at peace with you and your people. Help me to take responsibility for my part of any issue. Give me courage to have hard conversations the perfect words for peace to be restored. In Jesus Name amen.
In Sept. 2018 my husband had kidney stone surgery. In March 2019 my husband had an arterial dissection and another kidney stone operation in Nov. 2019 and is now supposed to follow a special diet which he does not do. In Jan of 2020 he had knee replacement surgery and rehab is going v e r y s l o w l y. His back to work date was just pushed back two weeks which means 2 more weeks of no pay. On the bright side, a hot rod he put together when he was 17 has been sold and he gets $11,000. He is spending it on a man shed. When I suggested he put a porch on it ( I want a 3-4 season porch) he blew up and called it totally unrealistic. I am feeling unappreciated with all the running to the hospital and rehab and taking off work for it and cooking different and buying different groceries that he doesn’t eat. He “fired” me twice as a caregiver because I was too bossy. His Physical Therapist has threatened him with a “manipulation procedure” if he doesn’t make progress. Saturday we received the $2500+ bills for his kidney stone procedure in Nov. 2019. Nothing yet on the knee replacement, although those bills are sure to come. He has not been back to church at all, although he drives to PT, goes to the grocery store, orders wood for the shed, picks it out with his brother and loads it off trailer into garage. I am tired of answering questions about him at church. He talks a good “poor me” to anyone who stops in. No doubt there will be lots of bending of the knee going on while nailing floor boards to a frame for a shed. But I can’t help think he is enjoying his time off. This squashes any vacation this year to see our 2 out of state sons.
I was fired from my job for being “blunt” with a manager in Oct 2019. It was a Christian place, but because she is hard to replace, she kept her job and I didn’t. I really thought more of the place but business is business I guess. It wasn’t that great of a job and I was thinking of leaving, God provided another job at just the right time or I wouldn’t have been so “blunt” (but it was the truth). But due to the timing of about a day, they fired me rather than me quitting. I guess it is for the better, because I found it hard to leave the association, but I did want a better position and not to be taken advantage of and I would have always questioned if I should have left if I quit as I don’t give up easily. Tonight I sure could use some good news. I know this is supposed to be a “comment” and I have ranted on. I need to concentrate on the positive. 2 people from church “have ways” to get him back to church next week. One a retired pastor who wants him back in class next week and the other a Sunday School teacher that my husband subs for has conveniently arranged a weekend trip to see his daughter in Iowa next week. We shall see what happens. I ended up quitting that job that was provided at the right time after 6 weeks because it became questionable if my paycheck would actually be able to be cashed, they falsely advertised about benefits and my other part time job offered me full time hours for 6 months. It has been 2 months and I am wondering what will happen in another 4 months. Thanks for being there, it does help to write this all out.
Wow, Ruth Ann, you surely are juggling a lot!
What I know is you cannot make someone else change, so you might as well focus on who you can and that’s yourself. 🙂
Go see your boys without him. Take a class to learn a new skill for a better job. Be the kind of woman others want to be around so when your hubz is crabby, the Body of Christ can fill in the gaps.
I’m so sorry for the mess, but know that nothing is impossible with Christ. Not even that man of yours softening.
Praying for a heavenly solution for you.
Yours words sure hit home (God does that), my daughter didn’t send me a birthday card & hasn’t called in weeks! I’m going to make that call today.
Good for you Dede! Yank out that bitter root!
There’s a person I know who is from the extended family she has such a fork tooth snake-like tongue and thinks that whatever she says is okay and it’s not I don’t have a clue on how to start telling her to be a little Kinder in her words without starting a family feud
That’s a tough one. Have you ever asked her privately about a specific comment she’s made? For example: “Zelda, when you said my chocolate pie tasted like dirt, it really hurt my feelings. I was hoping you could dial back your negative comments in my direction. I love you, but it’s hard to be around you when you blast me like that.”