We live in a world where tension flows from work to home, and in and through relationships with our family and friends. Oftentimes we find ourselves avoiding conflict in the hope to create harmony. Whether at work or home have you ever experienced the attempt to be a peacemaker but doing so to simply avoid the conflict? I grew up in a home where “keeping the peace” was something I learned to do at a young age. This peace came at great cost because I learned to pretend that all was okay even when behind the smiling face was great sadness. I now realize as an adult that in the attempt to be a peacemaker, I was a “peacefaker.”

Best-selling author Patrick Lencioni uses the phrase “artificial harmony” to describe a team that looks like they are healthy and respectful, but there are underlying factors that create a lack of trust, anxiety, and poor work performance which are all caused by the fear of conflict. There is very little trust or humility involved in this artificial harmony.

Are you listening to others in the conflict?

The practice of peacemaking takes humility, love, and trust. Listening to the other people, and being willing to learn and hear the other side of the conflict is a must. Ephesians 4:2 says with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Do you feel alone in your conflicts?
Several years ago I signed up for the Path of Peacemaker here at EFCC. A class that changed my life, and one truth that took deep root was God’s presence during the conflict. In Exodus 33 Moses is questioning the Lord about what he wants him to do and the Lord’s response is My Presence is with you and I will give you rest. He would be with Moses during the conflict and give him rest! He is with you too!

Do we love people more than what they think about us?
Ephesians 4:15 says Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. This comes back to bearing with one another in love and speaking the truth in love. Conflicts can get messy and stepping out in truth can hurt feelings and create a lack of understanding. May we pray to love people well?

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

Not all our conflicts will be tied up with a pretty little bow, but as children of God may we step into peacemaking with Him.

Tammy DeArmas

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