Take a moment to reflect on how you interact with people and how you respond to various situations. Would you say you are a peacemaker or a peacebreaker? How would those that know you best describe you? What message do you send to non believers that you meet?
As I wrap up the school year and I think of these questions, it reminds me of training new groups of students each year. The beginning of a new school year is always an exciting time of year, but it is also a lot of hard work. Teachers have to start off with teaching new students the rules and expectations of their classroom. I remember reading students a book about a boy named David that often made inappropriate choices. He had a very hard time following the rules and accepting the consequences. We followed up the story by talking about "peacemakers" and "peacebreakers".
The truth is, as christians we are no different from little David in that children's book. We start off as baby christians and don't really know all the rules. However as we grow and develop in Christ, we should start to develop more Christlike attributes and become peacemakers instead of peacebreakers.
So what are the qualities of a peacemaker? The attributes of a peacemaker can easily be seen by examining the life of Barnabas in the book of Acts. He was a man of great character. First of all, to become a peacemaker you must be full of the Holy Spirit. This is a prerequisite because the Spirit is what makes a peaceful character. As I began to study the character of Barnabas, I began to desire to be more like him.
James 3:17-18 ~ "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness."
I learned that a peacemaker is someone who is ...
- full of the Holy Spirit
- encouraging to others
- willing to resolve conflict
- willing to confront difficult situations
- a mediator
- willing to stop and think
- not judgmental
- accountable to authority
I must admit that throughout most of my life, I don't think people would have described me as a peacemaker. My human nature is to frankly speak my mind, pass judgement, and to react quickly without much thought. I know that I am merely a sinner that God saved by his amazing grace. In the past few years, I have developed some attributes of a peacemaker, but if I am being honest there are still some "peacebreaker" qualities that I need to work on. I believe God is trying to cultivate the qualities of a peacemaker within me as I grow in Him. I know He doesn't expect perfection within me, but He does expect me to strive to continually be more like Him ...the ultimate peacemaker!
Through Him, we can each become all that He created us to be. I pray that you will reflect on your life and ask yourself those tough questions. If you are like me, you might not like some of the answers. Perhaps it is time to seek God, and ask Him to help you shine His light to those around you by becoming a peacemaker.
I Thessalonians 5:23-24 ~ "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it."
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