This statue is outside a church and refers to The Book of Common Prayer:
The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
In visiting a church near me a few weeks ago, the pastor, Ed House, explained how he and his wife had learned to find reconciliation when they disagreed. He pictured them on either side of a wall.
Instead of each building their case against the other in their minds, each would come over to the other’s side, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, try to empathize with the other’s position. Of course this works best with two believers, but still, we who are believers can do it and explain to our spouse what we are endeavoring to do.
Colin Smith shows the connection between the Beatitudes, comparing them to trapeze rings: each ring gives you the momentum to reach the next. And therefore, being pure in heart is essential to reaching the peacemaker ring. You must not exaggerate the other’s wrong, mull over past wrongs, or vilify them, but truly try to understand their heart.
We also must examine our own hearts. I could not be at peace with my administrative assistants until God showed me the log of manipulation in my eye. When that was out, I could see clearly and humble myself before them, asking for forgiveness. I also love the above idea — what if I had come around to their side of the wall and asked the Holy Spirit to show me their perspective? Perhaps I would have found peace sooner.
I have also learned that even if I believe another is 80% of the problem, I must truly confess my part and leave the other’s part to God. This almost always surprises them but then also leads to peace. If they don’t reciprocate and admit their sin too, it’s harder, but still, it leads to peace, God is pleased, and we take on more of His likeness.
I’ve seen this happen with my children too. When our daughter Sally was in 7th grade, an 8th grade girl on her tennis team was bullying her. I prayed with her, asking God to show us what to do. The verse “Overcome evil with good” came to my mind, so we asked God how Sally could do that. Sally was nervous for “Glenna” was so mean, she didn’t think she would respond. I told Sally it would probably take several tries to melt Glenna’s heart, but she could start by just saying “Hi” when she saw her. Sally did that with, at first, no response from Glenna. However, she didn’t bully Sally at the next tennis practice.
We kept praying and then learned, since Glenna’s family went to our church, that Glenna’s birthday was the next week. I got Sally a simple birthday card that only had flowers on the front and “Happy Birthday” inside. Sally signed it. She shared a studyhall with Glenna so walked by on her birthday and put it on her desk. She watched Glenna open it suspiciously, and then tuck it in her book. The next day when Sally said, “Hi,” Glenna said “Hi” softly back. There was no more bullying. Years later, when Sally was a Junior in High School and Glenna a Senior, Glenna campaigned for Sally for Homecoming Queen.
- What stands out to you from the above, and why?
- Share a time when God helped you find peace with another or help two at odds to be at peace, whether in marriage, in the church, or in another situation.
Monday: Blessed are The Peacemakers!
3. Read Matthew 5:9
A. What does it say?
B. Why do you think peacemakers will be called “sons of God?”
It is vital to realize the spiritual warfare going on when there is discord and confusion, for Satan is a liar and loves to separate the sheep. Thomas Watson said: “Satan kindles the fire of contention in men’s hearts and then stands and warms himself at the fire.” Remember how Paul urged the church at Philippi to help Euodia and Syntche be at peace with one another.
4. Why do you think Satan loves discord:
A. In the body of Christ
B. In marriage
5. If you are at discord with anyone, go around to their side of the wall and ask the Holy Spirit to give you empathy and understanding for their perspective. What do you see?
Tuesday: Purity of Heart Before Peacemaking
6. Read Matthew 6:22-23
A. Why do you think Jesus says the eye is the lamp of the whole body?
B. Share a time when removing the log in your own eye helped you to see more clearly.
7. Colin Smith says you really have to stretch to get to this last rung. If you can’t, what should you do and why?
8. If God has given you wisdom and empathy for someone from who you are not at peace,
what action might you take? Report back!
Wednesday: Sons of God
9. Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker and we are called to walk as He walked. Meditate on the following verses and share your thoughts and any application.
A. Give up your rights! Philippians 2:3-8
B. Move toward a barking dog and love before you are loved: Romans 5:8
10. What did Paul ask the Philippian church to do in Philippians 4:2-3. If you were in that
church, how might you go about this?
11. Read Romans 12:18
A. What is the command?
B. In obeying the above, what steps should you take?
C. How do you know when you have done all you can so you can lay it down?
12. How have you seen God at work in your heart or life recently?
Thursday-Friday: Momentum Lecture
13. Listen to the following and share your notes and comments.
13. What is your take-a-way and why?