On Sunday, Rev. Shannon and I completed our sermon series on peacemaking. Here is the gist of what I shared on Sunday. It includes an observation, four signs that we are slipping into dangerous conflict and three suggestions for building peace where we are. (You can hear all three sermons online at the church website).
The only person in the world that you can ever hope to change in YOU.
Four warning signs to heed if you hope to avoid destructive conflict. (Pay attention to the words that you hear, especially those that come out of your own mouth.)
- Recognize what is going on inside your own head and heart. Work on reducing your own anxiety, fear, mistrust, blame and other emotions that will make peace more difficult. Be mindful of what you bring to your interactions with other people that shape how things will go. And be willing to make a change in yourself before inviting change in others.
- Recognize that there are very few situations where a disagreement will be resolved by more information or some clever explanation on your part. People come to hold their views for a variety of reasons. Just because somebody has a different view then you do doesn’t mean that they are ill-informed or that you need to set them straight.
- Work on building relationships with actual people rather than just forming options about groups of people you don’t personally know. It’s easy to hate people that are strangers. It’s much harder to hate people that you have come to know personally. Each of us can work on building and grow relationships with people that hold different views and have different experiences than our own. In that way, everyone benefits.
We can all work on making room for peace and to practicing love as Christ commands. It’s a choice we can make. Then the world will know us by our love. And we will know what it is to be blessed as a peacemaker.
Grace and peace,