Be joyful… Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11, NLT).
The words to one of my favorite hymns say this:
Peace, peace. Wonderful peace. flowing down from the Father above. Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray in fathomless billows of love.
Unless you have been living completely off the grid or under a rock, you are fully aware of the tremendous chaos our world is experiencing, right now. Peace is something most of us want, but lately, it seems like an elusive pursuit. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be.
Believe it or not, there are many instances where we actually have control over how much peace we experience. It’s all about attitude and choice. This is especially true when it comes to conflicts within the marriage. Here is a typical scenario of when disagreements breakout: Your spouse is careless when addressing you about an offense you may have caused. He yells or uses a tone several octaves above his usual – a clear sign that he is not happy. You, of course, in turn, are offended because of his approach and feel the need to defend yourself using an equally dissonant tenor. He attacks, you counterattack. Now a full-blown argument is in progress. Not only is the battle quite heated, but you actually begin arguing about who started the argument in the first place. How foolish!
Take a look at what Romans 12:18 says: If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (NKJV). That includes your spouse! That’s telling us that one or the other could have taken the high road and made the choice to not launch into the stratosphere as your mate did, thus completely diffusing the situation.
How do arguments continue or end? Proverbs 15:1 tells us, A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger (NKJV). Here are more: Pro. 20:3, Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling (NLT), and Pro. 21:23, Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble (NLT).
When our youngest daughter was in the seventh grade, she was only 12 and wouldn’t be turning 13 until school was almost out for the summer. She was attending a private Christian school where I also taught. During dinner, along with our other two children, we would usually talk about our day and any significant events that may have occurred. Well, my youngest daughter decided to share about a movie that her teacher showed in her Bible class. The movie was “Ghost” starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. I hadn’t seen that movie in years, but I did remember that there was a very sensual scene that I considered a bit too advanced for my barely 12-year-old and besides, the movie was rated PG-13. Suffice it to say that I was incensed! Why did she choose that movie? Why wasn’t I given a head’s up? Why didn’t she send out permission slips? I was thinking as a parent but also as a “responsible” teacher, which I obviously didn’t think she was at that point.
The next day, I expressed my ire to my principal and alerted him that I was going to have a talk with that teacher (my colleague). I’ll call her Sandy to protect the guilty. I had it all planned out in my mind that after school I was going to plaster her to the wall because I was so angry. I felt that she had taken away my ability to protect my daughter.
I informed Sandy that I wanted to talk with her after school. After I dismissed my students and set things in order for the following day, I headed upstairs to her classroom loaded for bear. As we both sat down, I told her that I wanted to speak with her about showing the “Ghost” movie to my daughter without my permission. Before I could lay out to her all the reasons she should be boiled in oil, she said to me, in the tenderest and most apologetic voice, “Pam, I am so sorry. I messed up.” “What?!”, I thought. “Wait, wait, I was supposed to blast her, she was supposed to give me excuses, and then, I was going to feel very justified for slicing and dicing her to pieces.” Instead, I felt about two inches tall and quite ashamed for wanting to tear her apart. Her humility and gentleness took all the wind out of my sails and left me with the feeling that now we can talk about the situation in a calm and reasonable manner. She had completely diffused the atmosphere of anger and rage by her conciliatory attitude. That taught me a lesson I have never forgotten.
Scripture is pretty clear, and so we always have a choice whether we are going to let our pride take over or obey God’s word. Let’s let the craziness of our current society stay outside our doors. Instead, let’s allow “the peace of God that passes all understanding” be the controlling factor in our homes. And if we experience enough of it, perhaps, we will have the courage to spread it around to help those outside our peaceful dwelling so others can have a taste of the precious serenity and repose we enjoy. (Pam)