God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children! Matthew 5:9 (CEV)

It was a stupid thing to say and just plain wrong. It was one of those situations where you wish you could just grab the word bubble and pull it back into your mouth and pretend it never happened. Of course, it didn’t work that way. In my stupid attempt to be funny I offended a dear friend. She stormed away, hurt, humiliated and angry…for good reason, I might add.

A mutual friend came to me a few days later and told me she’d talked to him about the things I’d said to Mindy (not her real name). It was slightly embellished, but for the most part accurate. I was embarrassed and ashamed. The situation wasn’t made any easier by the fact that we were mutual friends and were together often in social situations. Mindy would see me and move to an opposite side of the room. I tried on a few occasions to apologize, but she had nothing to do with it.

There’s an old saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Mindy and my situation was living proof of that adage. I was wrong for what I said. Her refusal to listen to my apology or forgive me wasn’t appropriate either. It was just as stupid and immature as the words I spoke to start the whole situation.

After several weeks, our mutual friend approached me. He’d been watching from the sidelines and had frankly seen enough. “Something has to be done to resolve this”, he told me one day as we met for coffee. I agreed and shared how I’d tried on several occasions to reconcile, but to no avail.

Dan, our mutual friend, decided that if reconciliation was going to happen it would have to be done with a mediator. He approached Mindy and she seemed more than willing for the three of us to meet together. We met at our church in a conference room. Dan read from Matthew on the importance of forgiving a brother when he sins. Then it was my turn. I told Mindy (again) how sorry I was for my words, that they were stupid and just plain un-Christian. I asked her (again) to forgive me. To my surprise she did! We talked. We hugged. Our friendship became much closer than it ever had before.

There could be all sorts of things that could be said about my flippancy or Mindy’s immaturity. The reality is, Jesus calls us to relationship with one another and he calls us to be peacemakers. Dan exemplified what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:9. He didn’t make judgments about who was right or wrong. He didn’t take sides or wait ‘for time to heal us’.

What he did was to put himself in the vulnerable position of peacemaker. Each of us is called to do the same. When a brother or sister in Christ is in conflict we are called to do what we can to reconcile ‘warring factions’. God’s word, patience, wisdom, prayer and love are the tools in our arsenal.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help us as your children to be actively involved in the lives of others so that we can act as peacemakers when conflict arises. Give us courage to act, wisdom to know how, grace to accept those times when reconciliation attempts fail. Amen.

5/15/2013

When a brother or sister in Christ is in conflict we are called to do what we can to reconcile ‘warring factions’. Matthew 5:9

God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children! Matthew 5:9 (CEV)

It was a stupid thing to say and just plain wrong. It was one of those situations where you wish you could just grab the word bubble and pull it back into your mouth and pretend it never happened. Of course, it didn’t work that way. In my stupid attempt to be funny I offended a dear friend. She stormed away, hurt, humiliated and angry…for good reason, I might add.

A mutual friend came to me a few days later and told me she’d talked to him about the things I’d said to Mindy (not her real name). It was slightly embellished, but for the most part accurate. I was embarrassed and ashamed. The situation wasn’t made any easier by the fact that we were mutual friends and were together often in social situations. Mindy would see me and move to an opposite side of the room. I tried on a few occasions to apologize, but she had nothing to do with it.

There’s an old saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Mindy and my situation was living proof of that adage. I was wrong for what I said. Her refusal to listen to my apology or forgive me wasn’t appropriate either. It was just as stupid and immature as the words I spoke to start the whole situation.

After several weeks, our mutual friend approached me. He’d been watching from the sidelines and had frankly seen enough. “Something has to be done to resolve this”, he told me one day as we met for coffee. I agreed and shared how I’d tried on several occasions to reconcile, but to no avail.

Dan, our mutual friend, decided that if reconciliation was going to happen it would have to be done with a mediator. He approached Mindy and she seemed more than willing for the three of us to meet together. We met at our church in a conference room. Dan read from Matthew on the importance of forgiving a brother when he sins. Then it was my turn. I told Mindy (again) how sorry I was for my words, that they were stupid and just plain un-Christian. I asked her (again) to forgive me. To my surprise she did! We talked. We hugged. Our friendship became much closer than it ever had before.

There could be all sorts of things that could be said about my flippancy or Mindy’s immaturity. The reality is, Jesus calls us to relationship with one another and he calls us to be peacemakers. Dan exemplified what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:9. He didn’t make judgments about who was right or wrong. He didn’t take sides or wait ‘for time to heal us’.

What he did was to put himself in the vulnerable position of peacemaker. Each of us is called to do the same. When a brother or sister in Christ is in conflict we are called to do what we can to reconcile ‘warring factions’. God’s word, patience, wisdom, prayer and love are the tools in our arsenal.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help us as your children to be actively involved in the lives of others so that we can act as peacemakers when conflict arises. Give us courage to act, wisdom to know how, grace to accept those times when reconciliation attempts fail. Amen.

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