I’m not feeling very peacemake-y these days.
If I feel anything at all re: certain relationships, it’s pretty much just anger and disappointment. But honestly, I’m so tired and sick of things, that mostly, I don’t feel anything at all.
(Not good. I know. Very not good.)
But there is hope! Even for weary people like me. Listen to how Thomas Brooks describes it:
“Ah! How does the God of peace, by his Spirit and messengers, pursue after peace with poor creatures! God first makes offer of peace to us: ‘We pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God’ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
God’s grace first kneels to us!
God is the party wronged, and yet he sues for peace with us (Isaiah 65:1).”
Listen to those truths, my tired friends, and I will join you as together we strive like gladiators to pursue peace (Ephesians 4:1-3) because we are listening to God’s Word more than our feelings or circumstances.
Eyes up! Off of our screens, our abandoning spouses, the “friends who only pretended to be friends” (Proverbs 18:24).
Hearts fixed on eternity! Together, let us bear our pain for this day. Decade. Century. A mere blink, and this life is OVER.
But we have this tiny season, this miniscule mere breath, to share in sufferings of our Elder Brother (1 Peter 4:13). Because we have been wronged, then today we get to “forgive just as in Christ we have been forgiven” (Colossians 3:13).
There will be no more suffering in Heaven! No more need to forgive in Heaven! But today. This day. We get to pick up our cross and follow our Savior. How? By remembering “the sweetness, the freeness, and the riches of God’s grace as they break forth and shine upon our poor souls.”
I’m going to try with all of my best efforts to be peacemake-y today regardless of how I feel. What does that mean? Again, let us listen to Thomas Brooks:
“Christians, it is not a matter of liberty whether you will or you will not pursue after peace—but it is a matter of duty that lies upon you; you are bound by express precept to follow after peace. ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man can see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14).
The Greek signifies that peace and holiness are to be pursued after with the greatest eagerness that can be imagined. So the psalmist: ‘Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it’ (Psalm 34:14).
The Hebrew word that is here rendered seek, signifies to seek earnestly, vehemently, affectionately, studiously, industriously. ‘And pursue it.’ That Hebrew word signifies earnestly to pursue, being a metaphor taken from the eagerness of wild beasts or ravenous fowls, which will run or fly both fast and far rather than be disappointed of their prey.
Ah! You forward, sour, dogged Christians … ‘Let us follow after the things that make for peace, and the things wherein one may edify another’ (Romans 14:19).
Yes. That’s me! Sour and dogged. He’s speaking to me—clearly. And so, I will try. Not because it’s easy. Not because it’s comfortable, pleasant, or even anywhere near the REALM of something I WANT to do.
But “in view of God’s mercy” (Romans 12:1); mindful of just how much “we hated God in our hearts” (Romans 5:10); meditating on the Perfect Son of God being abandoned by his closest friends (Matthew 26:40, Luke 22:54-62) … perfect in every way, without sin, yet taking on flesh so that he can sympathize with us, with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
Because this is our God! And we are the people of his pasture (Psalm 95:7), we will follow our Good Shepherd, even through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4)—even through the valley of the shadow of relational pain we never, ever thought would come to our (marriage, church, parenting, THIS friendship, THIS group of godly, mature, Spirit-filled, Christians) … the relational pain we never thought would come to us.
This is how the world will see that the Father sent the Son! (John 17:20-23)
This is how we will show ourselves to be true disciples of Jesus! (John 13:35)
Oh. And also? This is how our lives will be protected from the acidic destruction of the bitterness of judgmental unforgiveness and gracelessness.
We cannot change the past. We cannot change the other person’s heart. But we can respond in ways that are OUT OF THIS WORLD! Shockingly redemptive. Obedient to our duties–which are not vague in Scripture, by the way. To walk humbly, repent, confess, forgive? These aren’t “wisdom calls” or “debatable matters of liberty.”
You call yourself a Christian? I call myself a Christian? Well, then, love isn’t optional. Not for our brothers and sisters in Christ (John 13:35); not for our enemies (Luke 6:27); not for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are feeling like enemies.
God is the party wronged, and yet he sues for peace with us?
Let us then “leave our gifts at the altar” and even ahead of worship (!), make every effort to be reconciled (Matthew 5:23-24).
Thanks for processing through all of this with me. You’ve really encouraged me. I truly send you my very best regards and I pray that God will help you re: your most disappointing, discouraging, shockingly painful relationships.
With love from your sister in Christ,
Please note that this blog is a re-post from 2014. Also, the quoted excerpts and parphrases are from Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, emphases mine.
If you’re interested in reviewing my peacemaking video series or adding the audio files to your ipod, we now have that technology on our site. Specific sessions are only $1.99 (audio) or $2.99 (video) … or the entire series including the study guide is only $9.99 (audio) or $19.99 (video). Click here to download today!
Also, we recently unearthed videos from a women’s retreat that was simultaneously translated into ASL (sign language) and we are making those videos available for download, too. (In general, there is a small $2.99 charge to help offset the costs of hosting all of this online, but if you use ASL or if you have a ministry that uses ASL, our family wants to give these videos away for FREE. Plase just contact me and I will send you codes to access the videos for no charge.)