But Jesus was not a conflict enjoyer or avoider. He engaged and resolved conflict. He taught:
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
Our offering to God is less vital to our souls than our relationship with others. So what does He instruct us to do?
Go and Be Reconciled.
I don’t want to do this. Not when I am at fault. Not when I am sure they are at fault. Not when they are angry, nor when I am angry. I make all kinds of excuses. They will not listen to me. It’s all their fault. It is past the point of repair. But then I remember Paul’s words, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
|Jesus is our Peace|
What does this mean? I must engage. If I am disturbed listening to other people’s grief, sorrow, disappointment or anger, if I refuse to listen to their side, if I want to fix things too soon for my own comfort, then I have failed to engage, and failed to bring peace. Instead of hiding, avoiding, ignoring, I must engage. Instead of arguing, manipulating, berating, pushing, I must use humility as I engage, listening to understand, assuming the other has good reasons and motives for their position, their beliefs, their actions.
And it’s hard. It’s listening when it hurts. It’s opening up when I would rather run away. It is trying to empathize when I would rather support my position. It’s having the patience to trust the process, believing Jesus will reveal truth and write His best story as I obey His call to go and be reconciled.
Engage. That’s my word for 2021. I am not good at it. But I want to get better. Only You, my Beloved Jesus can give me the power. But You have called me and so I must trust You can also empower me.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. (Ephesians 2:14)