A typical middle child, I fell into the role of peacemaker quite naturally.
Until recently, that is.
I haven’t felt a lot of peace lately. To be honest, I haven’t really sought peace, either. We just came out of the season of “peace on earth, good will to men” and mine was more like “strife on earth, one-up your fellow man”.
Politics has played a big part in that. I just can’t resist chiming in on social media when I see something that strikes me as fundamentally wrong. (Eh, it’s not that I can’t resist. I just haven’t wanted to.)
But now I’m stepping back, and it’s because of something my pastor said yesterday. I’m not quoting him exactly, but the message that I walked away with is that I need to be creating peace in my life, in the lives of others. That in a world full of turmoil, peace is one fruit that enables people to see Christ’s character in the earth today.
He also said that sometimes, the best way to create peace is to keep our mouths shut.
MAN, this is hard for me. I’m quick-witted, sarcastic. I love debating politics, and having spent years of my life on each side of the aisle, I feel I have a lot of perspective to offer those who might be hard-lined to believe only one way or the other.
But if I look at the fruit of what my commentaries have created, it’s not pretty. It’s a lot of arguing and strife. It’s people walking away feeling angry and attacked. It’s me and them sitting there, thinking, “Wow, I had no idea they felt like that!” and then wondering how we could be friends if we are such polar opposites on divisive issues. It’s veiled comments that leave people feeling less-than, with each individual feeling like the other person thinks they’re stupid.
At the bottom of all of that, is what? Pride. It’s me wanting to be right. It’s me wanting the last word. It’s both of us struggling to convert someone who has no desire of conversion.
It certainly isn’t rooted in peace. It’s actually the opposite of the dictionary’s definition of peace: “Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility; freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.”
Honestly, I don’t know how to make it through an election year without sharing a hundred news articles, jokes and memes, and freely commenting on the candidates.
But I have longed for peace lately. I mean, physically ached for more of it in my life, all the while forgetting that the power to create it lay dormant within me.
I won’t stop praying for my nation (and for all of y’all who are on the wrong side of the issues — hahaha!) nor will I neglect to vote for the candidates that most reflect my beliefs.
But I’m not going to argue about it anymore. I’m going to stop taking the social media bait. I’m not going to read stories that I know will just ignite anger.
It’s going to be hard, maybe even harder than dieting, which I find to be the most agonizingly wretched discipline ever!
But I owe it to myself, to my family, to everyone I love, to choose peace.
Most of all, I owe it to God. Because if I’m going to publicly declare myself a Christ-follower, I need to do a better job of reflecting His character.