Friday, October 28, 2016

Blessed are the peacemakers

These are some reflections I wrote on the plane returning from Florida.

First of all, I'm grateful for how my family communicates and gets along. We don't seem to have great differences, but even when small things come up, we've always managed to work through them. 

That is a gift. A blessing. May we never take it for granted. 

We love our mom and each other, and we show our love. 

We don't agree on everything. But we don't let our different views or opinions keep us from caring about each other, spending time together and enjoying it. It's what we expect family love to be. But not all families have that. 

I'm not sure how they did it, but I feel like Mom and Dad both made it crystal clear they love us unconditionally. I've always felt like both told me what they thought. I appreciated their counsel and advice and even just their opinions. (I like to know what people think!!) And I never felt unloved if I expressed a different opinion or chose a different path. 

Actually, I know at least part of how they did it was with a foundation of faith in God, grounded on extended family relationships and traditions, including with church families. 

And I don't know when I became aware of what forgiveness really is, but it seems to be something that is practiced in our family. If we hold onto grudges, I'm gratefully oblivious!!

I was thinking this morning's First 15 devotional was about forgiveness, but when I went back to look, it was about unconditional love and its role in finding and maintaining peace. The passages seem fitting. 

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

"Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For 'Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.'" 1 Peter 3:9-11

"Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14 

"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17 

From Craig Denison's commentary:
"Scripture never said that making peace would be easy. It also never said that it would come naturally. Being a peacemaker only comes from living out of a revelation of who Jesus is and who we are in him. It only comes from valuing God's heart over our own worldliness. There are not some of us who are peacemakers and others who are fighters. There are not some of us who are just meek and mild and others who aren't. We are all called to make peace. We are all called to turn the other cheek. We are all called to search out the will of God for our lives and choose his ways over our own or the world's. To choose to make peace is to live a lifestyle filled with the Spirit and all his fruit. May you abide in your heavenly Father today and experience the abundant life that comes from making peace all around you."

OK, there was one about forgiveness, from Jesus Calling:
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. —COLOSSIANS 3:13


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