I wasn’t born a peacemaker. I believe in standing up for my rights and letting the chips fall where they may. But as my age advances, I have learned to chose my battles, and most of them aren’t worth getting too upset over. At least not to the extent that I leave debris laying around behind me. It’s not easy sometimes when I have a whole mouthful of angry words I want to spit in someone’s face. Or it would be easy to concoct a plan to show them who they are dealing with. The power surges up within me, but it usually doesn’t stop to count the cost of the consequences, so when I feel it coming, I take a few steps back, and rethink what I need to do.
It happened this weekend. I was so frustrated. I was in the right and was willing to back it up. Instead I talked, I humbled myself, I looked for ways to find middle ground with the person. Finally, the fact that I was loving and willing to make peace worked. It was resolved satisfactorily without me enforcing the issue, and no bridges were burned with our relationship.
I am startled from time to time about how many people know me. I went out to the landfill the other day, and two people that I didn’t recognize, recognized me. We had a friendly conversation, and I was glad I had created good will with them at one time. Oh how the words we say come back to us, happily or unhappily.
I think the issue of what I will stand up for has to do with justice. I will take up for someone being mistreated, or help the downtrodden. Somehow, I believe Jesus did also. I remember the woman at the well, the tax collector, the woman who was going to be stoned, the women in sin, and Peter. Without judging them, He merely sent them on their way and asked them to start over in the right way. Jesus also has a way of vindicating us when we remain silent. He takes up our cause.
Even though it is hard to control one’s emotions in the heat of an argument, I am realizing that the way of the peacemaker is best. It also give a sense of power. The power of discipline. And there’s no need to go back and say, “I’m sorry.”