Are You A Peacemaker?
by Pastor Byron Sarracino
I am married, and I have five grown children and two grandchildren. Sometimes I can be misunderstood by my family, and sometimes my family misunderstands me! I want to share some practical steps that we can take when we sense strife arising in our household or maybe even in our workplace.
- We should not ignore problems.
We must not let strife get a foothold in our lives! It is wise to talk about problems before they get bigger. When strife is allowed to exist in our home, it will typically lead to fighting and arguing. The Bible calls this contention. When strife and contention build, it is like a water pipe under heavy pressure – when it bursts, there is an explosion! “The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.” (Proverbs 17:14)
- We should be discerning.
Before we begin to argue a point, we should determine whether it is worth fighting over. Even when we are right, we have the potential to damage relationships even more (Proverbs 20:3). We can practice the principle of not adding fuel to the fire and instead give space to the other person. Everybody has an opinion (especially on social media)! When we give our advice and unsolicited opinion, we can often make someone angry. They may be dealing with issues and struggles that we know nothing about; it is often best for us to mind our own business and not make unwelcomed comments. “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” (Proverbs 26:17)
- We should guard our words.
We are wise to think about the way we speak. We should avoid joking about people. Joking at the expense of others can affect them negatively. Instead of making fun of someone, we can encourage someone and uplift their spirits. It is not always what we say, but how we say it. We should evaluate our attitude and always seek to be gracious. “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” (Proverbs 22:10)
- We should be peacemakers.
Can it be said of us that we are nice and that we do not make trouble? Do we strive to follow after peace? Or do we like to rumble and tumble?! If we really want more peace in our lives, perhaps we should choose to respond to others in a gracious and diplomatic manner. Even when we think that we are right, we should choose to follow after peace and not make war. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
How can we be peacemakers?
- Let’s learn to be quiet, and let others talk.
- Do we let others talk without interrupting?
- Do we let them air their thoughts without commenting or giving an answer (especially if they aren’t looking for input!)?
- Let’s learn to say, “I’m sorry!” and “Please forgive me!” on a regular basis.
- Do we take ownership of our words and actions?
- Do we seek forgiveness and reconciliation before things come to a head?
God’s way of handling strife goes against what the world says. The world tells us to get even. This usually ends up with an even greater burden and a bigger problem to fix. With God’s help, let’s be peacemakers!
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20
Byron Sarracino is from the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico where he currently resides and serves as pastor in his local church. He and Tricia have five children. His story of growing up on the reservation and finding hope while serving in the Armed Forces is one of several stories touching lives through the Native Voices Project (click here to watch his story).