Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
I recently wrote a post about considering our circumstances pure joy. The weight of that scripture has been re-shaping my heart and thoughts. But what happens when your joy is challenged and you struggle to consider something pure joy?
It can be difficult to live out one’s revelations. No sooner had I posted,‘Consider it Pure Joy’, I was challenged. Oh, yeah, you think you can consider it all pure joy.. let’s test that theory… and thus began several very painful days of wrestling through some really tough emotions. Emotions that were 24 year’s old. A situation, innocent of any malice, happened that stirred up old emotions. Emotions that I have never dealt with, never fully processed or forgiven. Emotions I had stuffed.
I am an excellent stuffer. I know how to stuff hurt feelings and put on my happy face faster than you can say what’s wrong. You may know someone like me, they consider themselves a peacekeeper, and most likely, they’re somewhat proud of that title. They’re also very burdened.
What I did not understand for a large part of my life was that there is a huge difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker. The former keeps a sort of fake peace while the latter, although it can be messy and painful, makes real peace.
Simply put, a peacekeeper goes through extreme measures to keep the peace at all costs. The trouble is this is not real peace. This is the person who will sweep the elephant under the rug and place a coffee table on top just so everything looks fine. Who cares that there’s a big lump. If we don’t discuss it, if we just play nice, all will be fine.
Well, except it is not all fine. Deep down I’ve known that. But for years, I’ve lacked the tools to change. Who wants to voluntarily wade through a river of hurt?
Honestly, not me. I don’t deal well with conflict, I am the one who will tell people to just be nice. Truthfully, I am so out of my depth in writing about this. I have too many years of experience at stuffing feelings (keeping the peace), and much less experience in dealing with conflict and hurt with grace and truth (peacemaker).
Peacemakers cut through the hurt and the pain, with grace and truth, to bring about real peace, lasting peace.
Lasting peace.. do you know how beautiful that is?
Thankfully, I have just enough experience with that real peace to know that it is possible. I also know that is is infinity times better than that fake peace I’ve been pushing all these years.
I still don’t have all the necessary tools, but I do have Jesus; and thankfully, He does have all the tools.
For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
How do you apply grace and truth when old feelings bubble up? In an unguarded instant, I was a fourteen year old kid again; those old, unresolved, unforgiven feelings did a good job stealing my joy.
I spent the next several days wrestling through these old feelings. Part of me felt paralyzed. A part of me felt justified in nursing these old hurts. Thankfully, a bigger part of me was desperate for truth, to be rid of these feelings that had the potential of wreaking so much havoc on my life and robbing me of joy. I was mad that they were intruding in the present day. I also knew they wouldn’t be easily stuffed again, it was time to actually do something with them.
How dare they resurface after I had so diligently stuffed them?
That’s the thing with feelings you’ve stuffed, eventually they will seep out and demand to be reconciled. I am so grateful that Jesus quietly and sweetly breathed Truth into the situation allowing me to forgive and to take captive the thoughts that had been lurking underneath the surface of my heart for so long. Even though I considered them inactive, they were quietly causing more damage than I knew, tainting my present day interactions with my loved ones.
I began to see my hurt in a new light, with a new perspective. It was painful to see. But, I am finally at a place to start the process of forgiving and applying grace; as a result, I can breathe and live more freely in my current relationships.
My natural self will likely always be bent towards being a conflict avoider who stuffs feelings to avoid wading through the hard parts of relationships. But that’s not good enough anymore. If I am to break free and live free, I must learn to speak both truth and grace. It will not always be easy, and I can only do this because of Jesus in me. Because He has forgiven me, I can also forgive. And in doing so, I will taste His lasting peace.
Once you truly give something up, truly forgive, it is amazing how the hold it once held is loosened, and you are truly free from it. I want this, I want to be free from past hurts that try to dictate my life today.
May He truly remake me into a peacemaker. May I be His vessel of grace and truth.
James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.