Tag Archives: peacemaker

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 …

A Peacemaker’s Advent: the Magi

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  Matthew 2:1-2

At the risk of spoiling your nativity scenes, here are the facts about the magi (separated from the myths): (1) they probably were not kings, (2) we do not know how many there were, (3) they never saw Jesus as an infant, nor the manger, nor the shepherds, (4) we do not know their names nor their nationalities.  We actually know surprisingly little about them.  The sum total of what we do know, we learn from 12 small verses of scripture in Matthew’s gospel.  That is all.  But it is enough for us as peacemakers to continue to learn some important truths from the Christmas story.

These magi (however many there were), were apparently scholars and apparently familiar enough with Jewish prophecies to understand that the “king of the Jews” had been born.  They were also men of science, familiar enough with the night sky to recognize a star which did not belong there.  They were also shrewd seekers of Jesus, not thrown at all off track by Herod’s deception or malicious intentions.  These are all good qualities for peacemakers.

A peacemaker among God’s people is a student of the Word.  I know I’ve already made this point in this series, but it bears repeating.  The truth of God’s Word is critical to peacemaking among His people.  Peacemakers therefore immerse themselves in the Word regularly…even in all the woes and warnings of Old Testament prophecies.

A peacemaker studies the landscape of relationships and recognizes things that do not seem to

In Way Over Our Heads

Tuesday Re-mix:

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.  Psalm 8:4-5

Back in 1985, when I came out of law school and started work as a very wet-behind-the-ears lawyer, I expected to be stuck in the back of a law library for at least a year or two before I would be entrusted with anything which actually required much judgment on my part.  I fully expected I would be researching and reading and gathering documents and other such tasks which were reasonably “safe” for a baby lawyer to handle.  Imagine my surprise, then, in my FIRST WEEK ON THE JOB, when one partner handed me a file to take before a jury in just 3 short months and another partner handed me an appellate brief to prepare and argue before the Texas Court of Appeals in just 6 short months.  I was scared to death!  I was in pretty far over my head.  I would not have done it that way.  I thought to myself…they must really trust me!

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24263066I say it often about God and the church…I would not have done it this way.  If I were God, I would not have chosen this strategy to reach this lost and broken world.  To be blunt, I would never have entrusted my name and my reputation into the hands of a bunch of broken, flawed people like you and me.  What an enormous risk!

In my work as a peacemaker in the church, I get the privilege of seeing the church often at its very worst behavior.  I am reminded over and over again just how flawed we are…how very capable we are …

Burning Labels and Building Bridges

Tuesday Re-mix –

I recently pulled up to the Starbuck’s drive-through thinking about how to say what I want (it’s important in this culture to sound knowledgeable when it comes to coffee–after all, what barista worth his/her salt would be at all impressed with me if I stepped up and just asked for a cup of coffee?).  Here is how the conversation went:

Blake:  I’d like a Grande Two-Equal Skinny Latte please.

Barista:  What flavor?

Blake:  No flavor.  Just the Skinny Latte.

Barista:  So, you just want the Latte with Non-fat milk, but no flavor?

Blake:  That’s correct.

Barista:  Just so you’ll know in the future, “Skinny Latte” means a flavor.  “Non-fat Latte” means no flavor.

Blake:  Whose rule is that?  Who made that definition?

Barista:  I don’t know, sir.  I’m just trying to help you say it right.

Blake:  (humiliated)  I’ll have a medium-sized coffee with steamed non-fat milk and two Equals stirred into it, please.  Call it whatever you like.

As a peacemaker, both by temperament and by profession, I have never liked labels.  I do understand why we use them.  For communities who all use the same vernacular, labels can provide important short-cuts to having to use long explanations for things.  I get that.  If I learn Starbucks’ language, my orders will go a lot faster.  Still, there is that tension between the barista and me, especially when he/she “otherizes” me by pointing out that I’m not saying it right.

So it is with Christians and their communities.  They come up with short-hand phrases and labels to describe Biblical concepts and theological positions, and those terms are useful in most situations within that community.  But over time, we sometimes lose the fact that they are just short-hand for other, more accurate descriptions and we begin to …

Unleashing the Spirit of Peace…Through Prayer

Tuesday Re-mix –

“To often we treat prayer as the preparation for the work of the church…do you not see, prayer IS the work of the church.” Oswald Chambers

Two true stories from my ministry:

1.  “God, I’ve got this one…I’ll check with you on the next one.” I had not yet really started a ministry.  I was a lawyer, a seminar speaker, and somewhat of a Bible teacher.  As a negotiator, I had been involved in hundreds of secular mediations, and I had only just begun experimenting with mediation in the church.  I received a call from a minister friend who needed a mediation done at a small church he knew.  The pastor was in trouble and the church leadership was dividing.  I asked how many people this included and he told me about a dozen or so.  I told him to get them all together on a Saturday morning and I would fly out, mediate with them for a half-day or so, and take care of it.

Yes, I really did say that.  Looking back on it, I can’t believe the arrogance.  I had been in all these mediations, most of which had resulted in resolutions, and I genuinely thought to myself, “How hard can this be?”  There was no prayer involved, other than the obligatory prayer at the beginning of the Saturday meeting.  I showed up, began the mediation, and the whole thing fell apart within a couple of hours.  A church was all but destroyed and a man’s ministry was ended.  My own lack of any Spiritual preparation or focus was the reason.

2.  “God, I cannot do this without you.” I was speaking to a congregation about some severe conflict in their church.  It was actually just one stage of a full-blown intervention involving a