Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Friend to Friend
Two boys on the school playground were discussing a boy in their class. One of them remarked, “He’s no good at sports.” The other quickly responded, “Yes, but he always plays fair.” The critical one added, “He isn’t very smart.” His friend answered, “That may be true, but he studies hard.” The boy with the mean tongue was getting frustrated. “Well,” he sneered, “did you ever notice how ragged his clothes are?” The other boy kindly replied, “Yes, but did you ever notice they’re always clean!” The first boy threw his hands up in total frustration and walked away shouting, “It is impossible to talk to you!” Adopt the “Yes, but” philosophy and you will quickly find that the enemies of peace will avoid you like the plague.
We are called to wage peace in a world filled with conflict. The world has its own system for working out conflict. It’s called retaliation. God has a different plan for working out conflict. It’s called restoration. In 1 Thessalonians 5:13 (NIV), Paul instructs us to “live in peace with each other.” We are to “clothe ourselves” with certain characteristics as preparation for peace to rule. The characteristics we bring to relationships determine the level of peace in those relationships. That means deliberately planning for peace.
Peace makes the decision to resolve conflict before conflict comes.
God calls us to unity, to be members of one body committed to peace. While the peace of God may be beyond our control and above our understanding, it can become a reality in our lives when we choose to reject every enemy of peace.
For several years, I taught third grade in the public school system. Every student I taught knew that one of my pet peeves was tattling. In fact, I made a long tail out of construction paper on which I wrote “Tattle-Tail.” I then pinned the tail to the bulletin board behind my desk. I then explained that anyone who repeatedly tattled on another student would have to wear the tail. Every time a child came to me with a negative comment or complaint about another student, I simply pointed to the hanging “tail” and asked, “Are you sure you want to say those words?” The reminder always stopped them cold. They did not want to wear that tail. In fact, no student ever did wear that tail.
So when the gossips call, refuse to entertain their caustic words.
When conflict arises, deal with it swiftly, refusing to leave the table until that conflict is resolved.
Make integrity the benchmark of your life.
Do not allow any conversation, meeting or gathering to become a “bash those who are not present” session.
Avidly guard your tongue and carefully measure your words.
Peace is at stake.
The prayer of the psalmist should be our prayer as well, “May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NIV)
We can be at peace when we understand what true peace is, when we are willing to let peace rule and are committed to being right with each other and with God who is Jehovah Shalom, “I am your peace.”
Father, I am so sorry for the critical words I have spoken and entertained. Forgive me for allowing conflict to remain unresolved. I want to be a woman who wages peace and pursues integrity. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart please You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Grab your journal. Read the commitment written below. If you are ready to make that commitment, write it in your journal.
I praise God for the gift of friendship. Today I commit to investing more time in deepening the friendships God has given me. I want others to see the very nature of God in the way I relate to my friends. I will wage peace in my relationships. Today, I choose to honor God in every friendship and trust Him with each one.
Name __________________________________________ Date ______________
More from the Girlfriends
Learning to wage peace in your relationships is a powerful spiritual tool. Mary’s book, Sandpaper People, will help you learn to develop meaningful relationships.