Tag Archives: mediator

Peacemakers in our Lives

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 1 Samuel 25:23-24

Who are the peacemakers in your life?

I think my favorite peacemaker in the Bible is Abigail (I Samuel 25).  Married to an arrogant, belligerent and wealthy man, she had to play the role of a peacemaker in order to keep King David and his small army from destroying her family. She saw a disastrous conflict coming and she got involved.  She “handled” communication in such a way as to avert a very painful scenario for her family and probably for others as well.

That is  what peacemakers do.  They see danger coming where there has been a breakdown in communication and they involve themselves in the communication efforts.  They become “interpreters”, helping each party hear the real concern on the other party’s part.  They become “press secretaries”, helping each party learn a better, more productive way to say what they are feeling.  They become “scribes”, making sure that only the right words get etched in stone for posterity’s sake.  And in some cases, they become “advocates”, giving voice to a party who’s voice is otherwise not going to be heard.

Peacemakers understand one thing about relationships: they rise and fall based completely upon perceptions.  Your response to me (i.e., your half of our relationship) will necessarily be based on your perception of me or of something I have said or done.  Knowing this, peacemakers help control that …

Your Calling to Do Hard Things

Tuesday Re-mix –

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

 And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’  Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.  Isaiah 6:8-10

Believe me when I tell you there are parts of my work as an attorney which I do not like.  Likewise, there are parts of my work as a church mediator which are hard and not very rewarding.  Likewise, there are parts of my various assignments as a church leader which I would definitely rather not do…things I definitely do not feel “gifted” to do, but which my leadership requires nonetheless.

struggling-turtleIsaiah’s calling was almost certainly not to do something he enjoyed doing.  It was a calling to do a very hard thing…for over forty years…with practically no visible return whatsoever.

So, I hope my pastor friends will understand when I tend to look with some skepticism at their desire to just do the part of pastoring which they enjoy doing.  Some would like to just focus on the preaching and teaching without having to bother with the “pastoral care” parts.  Others would like to focus on the administrative aspects without having to do so much preaching and teaching.  Still others could be content just doing hospital visits all day long and never having to attend another insufferable committee meeting.

Shepherding God’s people includes all of those things.  You don’t have to be good at all of them…but you do have to do all of them.  If you don’t feel called to visit sick people and to counsel grieving people…you probably are not called …

“I see broken relationships…they’re everywhere.”

Tuesday Re-mix –

Peacemaking means a lot of things to a lot of people, even within the context of the church.  There are gentle, non-anxious leaders who are often called peacemakers.  There are true mediator-like people who help resolve conflict.  I believe there are even those who have a Spiritual gift of peacemaking.  In my ministry, I suppose I am a bit of a “collector” of peacemakers.  That is, I have people from all walks of life who have joined me in peacemaking in churches all over the world.  So I can say with some confidence that peacemakers come in all shapes and sizes, and how they do what they do comes in many forms as well.

But I have also come to see some commonalities among them.  There are common experiences and common reactions to circumstances.  There are things all peacemakers do, whether they know it or not.  And that is what this series of posts will address.  I am calling it Habits of Peacemakers.

The first observation is the clearest for me.  Every true peacemaker I have ever known has been given an ability, a “gift”: peacemakers see broken relationships.  Usually, peacemakers see them before most other people see them.  Often, peacemakers see them before the parties themselves even realize the brokenness is there.  I’m sorry for this connection, but I just couldn’t help drawing from a favorite movie of mine.  Maybe you remember it.  M. Night Shyamalan’s best effort yet, in my opinion.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2sDw-XBuKc&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0]

“I see dead people.” Haley Joel Osment’s line will go down in movie history.  And real peacemakers relate to his  character’s problem.  When a genuine peacemaker looks across the landscape of a congregation, even a relatively happy, healthy congregation, he/she sees broken relationships.  Other people see wholeness and happiness and progress.  But for