Tag Archives: Blessed are the peacemakers

Piece of mind or peace of mind – revisited


Revisiting a personal reflection from March 2013 –


“I’m gonna give that person a piece of my mind!”


How often have you heard (or said) that? The problem of course is that we all have just so many pieces, and after awhile we are sure to run out of them. And then, there we are, mindless with no peace.


I shudder to think of how many times my life used to express that sentiment. I used to be an angry guy with such high expectations for everyone, including myself. There was not much joy in that piece-meal life. Finally, I came to the end of my rope. I realized that I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be. And furthermore, I had no real hope of changing myself by my own power. I already knew who Jesus was and proclaimed to follow Him. My mouth said, “Jesus is Lord” but my actions said, “I am Lord of my life. I am in charge.” Yes, in charge of my hopeless anger.


The solution was to give it up, to stop being in charge. Now, surrender doesn’t come easy to any of us. But in such battles such as this, real victory only comes through surrender. You can either be a slave to selfish ways or you can surrender to God’s leadership in your life. You can either insist on remaining the same, or you can be transformed. Over thirty years ago, I gave up a life of anger and bitterness. I gave up giving people a piece of my mind and chose instead to pursue peace of mind.


How about you? Maybe your lack of peace isn’t the result of anger or bitterness or resentment. Maybe what threatens your peace is the idea you can control your destiny. But it’s tiring being general manager of the world, isn’t it? Or maybe it’s battles of self confidence that erode your sense of personal peace and satisfaction. Memories from the past continue to play out in your head and steal your hope for peace today. Or maybe, you are one of millions who are trying so hard to always do the right thing. You’re the good deed doer everyone admires but you find no restorative peace because you’re carrying the weight yourself instead of cooperating with the Holy Spirit. Good deeds are an expression and overflow of our peace with God, NOT the route to it. For God so loved the world he sent his Son, not you or me. And his Son sent his very Spirit, not your skills or mine so that we might know his peace.


We are called to be peacemakers. Is there anything that stands in the way of living at peace with others in your life? God has the answer and the power to change that. Give it up to Him and find peace. Bring it all before his Spirit, and let him bring you peace and show you how to live at peace with God who then teaches you to live at peace with others.


Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18


Are you an obstructionist or a peacemaker?

An obstructionist is one who so steeped in their convictions they methodically cause problems for others who want to accomplish their objectives. There is no negotiation, little if any understanding, but much confrontation. Unlike the cartoon, I don’t think we aspire to become obstructionists, but high levels of frustration lead us to such destructive behaviors instead of pursuing our call to be peacemakers.

We quickly associate obstructionism with the political process. But it easily finds itself in the work environment and personal relationships where what someone is against speaks louder than what they are for. Lines are drawn sometimes arbitrarily in the sand; walls are built. Obstructionist behaviors take the form of discrediting, ridiculing, and dishonest passive aggressive manipulative efforts. Behaviors like the silent treatment, refusal to honestly communicate feelings, gossip, bringing up old issues, ‘compliments’ that feel like back stabbing, and intentional feet dragging also create tension and conflict rather than peaceful and respectful resolution of issues. Honest conflict is difficult enough to resolve, but indirect conflict is insidiously problematic. It creates a shifting darkness that make shining light difficult.

In the classic negotiation example, one will keep the other from getting all the orange. Though they only want the pulp for juice, they haven’t taken time to seek to understand the other’s interest. If they had, they would have discovered the other only wanted the rind to make marmalade. They could have both had EVERYTHING they wanted. Instead they settled for half or less.

The peacemaker realizes that dealing with these destructive behaviors calls for a “critical conversation” approach. Critical conversations are those that need to happen but are difficult, even painful, to conduct. Five points are essential to the success of these conversations and the disarming of covert obstructionism behavior:
1. Identify and keep focus on the behavior, without attacking the person.
2. State how you feel about these behaviors,
3. And why you find them harmful.
4. Ask for affirmation of your interpretation.
5. Communicate your desire to understand and be understood, to find common ground for harmonious resolution.

In doing this, you are not attacking the person or their values. Rather you are communicating a concern for a situation that harms a productive and caring relationship. Though difficult, critical conversations convey mutual value and build a bridge for a stronger relationship and improved outcomes.

God does this for us when he convicts us of our destructive behaviors. Godly peacemaking allows us to maintain our deepest beliefs through a forthright and honest discussion, based on love and respect. It builds any relationship, whether that between a husband and wife, parent and child, employee and employer, coworkers, friends, or positional opponents. The result, when we pursue peace instead is always greater joy, contentment, and purposeful meaning in our lives.

Are you an obstructionist or a peacemaker? Isn’t it time to let God’s light shine through you and give peace a chance?

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9