Someone Like You … might be a peacemaker
“As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
- Romans 12:18
Forgiveness is one thing, but healing from a broken family relationship or friendship is next level. In a situation like Andi’s, her parents wanted things to be right. They truly did. But initially, that did not ease the pain Andi was feeling.
Which is why sometimes humility is needed on our part in order to find true and genuine restoration with the people we love.
Louise was right. The world is so very divided and the last thing any of us want is a divided family, as well. For Andi, the hurt in her heart kept her from reaching out to her parents, sooner. But in time – through the kind counsel of Larry and Louise and Dawson and through the prodding of the Holy Spirit – Andi did the right thing. She reached out and forgave. She even apologized for taking so long to do so.
The result? A healed and whole relationship.
It’s interesting to note that Andi’s biological parents and her new friend, Dawson, disregarded what was best for them in this situation. Rather, they believed that healing and reconciliation was needed in Andi’s life and so they encouraged her in that direction.
Even though it meant losing her from their own lives.
The Covid pandemic brought about much division in our culture. Whole sections of society chose not to get the Covid shot and they were ostracized for it. Others didn’t agree with masking, and they were considered pariahs. Likewise, mean words flowed from the non-vaccinated to the vaccinated. Awful things were said.
One reader told me about a situation in her life. She had chosen not to get the shot because in her research on the topic, she didn’t believe it was safe. Her adult children, however, all got the vaccine. They thought their mother to be reckless and ignorant. Each had their own stance, and each felt justified in their beliefs.
This reader told me that she kept sending articles on the dangers of the shot to her adult kids. They kept sending her stories about the dangers of not getting vaccinated. Soon things grew tense between them, and not only when they discussed Covid.
Two of this woman’s children decided to ban their mother from family gatherings unless she got the shot. When one of them finally relented and allowed their mother to visit, it was under the orders that she change clothes upon arrival, wear a mask, and wash her hands hourly if she wanted to hold her grandchild.
On top of this, since the pandemic, there has been a great political divide in the United States and in families. The reasons are obvious and not worth stating here, except to say that those struggles have also made their way into family relationships.
The reader asked me what she should do. “I feel like I’ve lost my entire family. My kids hate me and there is no discussing anything with them.”
Since she asked, I engaged through email with this reader and gave her my thoughts. “Right or wrong,” I told her, “clearly you are not going to sway your kids to see things your way. They are not going to convince you to see things their way. You are all at an impasse. Divided.”
I went on to tell her that the best choice here might be to simply move on from further discussion on areas of disagreement. If her adult kids wanted her to go through a number of stipulations in order to see her grandchildren, that was her choice. She could do it kindly, with a smile, and visit with her family. Or she could stay home and refuse.
I suggested that the humble and God-honoring choice would be to do what they asked – within reason, of course. Another idea, I told her, would be to send letters to her adult kids. Letters that talk about the past, and the joy of raising them, and the things about them that this woman loved most. Compliment them for being such wonderful adults and great parents, or whatever the case may be.
Basically, shower them with all the love possible.
“In time,” I told her, “the craziness of this pandemic will pass and divisions can be healed. But it may take you to be the peacemaker first.”
What are the characteristics of a peacemaker?
First, a peacemaker must see the bigger picture. Is it really important to be right on any given issue? Is it critical to have your thoughts made known and not only that, but to have them acknowledged as the correct way of thinking? The answer is no, not for the peacemaker.
Second, a peacemaker is humble. They understand that love and relationships with our family and friends are far more important than whatever issues divide us. And finally, a peacemaker answers primarily to God. The Lord wants us to live at peace with others. Romans 12:18 tells us that whenever and however possible, live at peace.
My friend said she came up with an acronym after that. Some days she wrote it on the palm of her hand – literally. W.A.I.T. It stood for Why Am I Talking? It was a helpful tool, and one that kept her feeling lighthearted about the challenges ahead. She gave the issues over to God and proceeded to move on from them.
Did she still feel mistreated? Was she still hurt by her kids’ rejection of her over the issues surrounding the pandemic? Yes, to both of those. But she let God soothe her hurt and she took the higher road. She was humble and loving and kind. She no longer felt compelled to be right.
And guess what? This many years later, she and her adult sons and daughters are happy and whole. They don’t talk about the pandemic, and in fact it’s like it never happened. She no longer has to wear a mask or change her clothes when she sees her grandchildren, and the love that was once shared between them is fully restored.
This is the reward of the peacemaker, and it is why God calls His children to take on that role, wherever possible. Even when it’s not fair. Of course, sometimes peace is not possible, and in those situations perhaps God is calling you to forgive and move on. But where it is an option, live at peace.
Then, watch and see the difference your actions make. For the good!
Is there something or someone in your life where you feel the hurt of division? Why is that?
Is it important that the people involved in this situation know and believe that you are right?
God offers healing in His presence and in the truth of His Word. Have you ever sought the Lord on this issue?
Is it possible that you first need to find strength and help from God, before you can be the peacemaker in this situation?
I Can Do That:
God calls us to be peacemakers. But He also calls us to build our lives on His truth. Love and truth. Journal ways you might use these principles to be a peacemaker in your personal world.
Get a set of “You Were Seen” cards from YouWereSeen.com. Carry these cards around and hand them out as you go about your week. In this way you will share the love of God with a stranger - without knowing what might divide you. And in this case, God gets the credit for the good you do.
Forgiveness is one way to erase the divides in your personal life. Choose to forgive anyone who has ever hurt you. Give those people over to God and trust that He will bless you for obeying Him this way. Even if the other person is clearly at fault and not sorry, God calls us to forgive.
Journal how being a peacemaker might make you feel.