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Blessed Are the Peacemakers

“You two will just have to work it out,” my mom maintained firmly while continuing to scrub dishes at the kitchen sink.

My big sister and I groaned audibly, both of us stomping through the dining area and back to the living room to begrudgingly resume play. I craned my neck one last time to check to see if Mom had changed her mind, but the light from the open window cast a peaceful glow over her unconcerned face. The amicable distribution of Barbie dolls was clearly not the priority of her morning. She meant it: we were to settle our dispute on our own.

There is something within human beings that drives us to seek the resolution of our problems somewhere outside of ourselves. My sister and I wanted our mother to do it; the church in Corinth wanted secular judges to do it; and as adult women, many of us subconsciously hope our peers or significant others will do it. Reconciling disagreements face-to-face is not easy, and we often go to great lengths to talk about the conflict with everyone except the person we are actually at odds with.

When left to our own devices, our inclinations for conflict resolution typically go one of two ways: either we’re tempted to gossip about the person who has wronged us, or we repress our feelings (temporarily) and let bitterness take root in our hearts. Neither of those ways leads us to truth, beauty, or goodness. Neither way reflects the heart of God.

Today’s reading from 1 Corinthians reminds us that God cares about seemingly little things like conflict resolution. Our relationships with all people, and particularly with other believers, should reflect the love that exists between the Persons of the Trinity. We all know we can’t control the choices of others, but we can control how we respond to them. Stuffing our emotions honors neither their dignity nor our own, but neither does airing our grievances with everyone who will listen.

To honor God in our interpersonal relationships, we must take responsibility for communicating our feelings honestly, listening with an open mind, being willing to stand corrected, and bringing in a wise third party when necessary. Taking ownership of such peacemaking efforts is not an easy task, but the Kingdom of God is advanced one awkward conversation at a time.

The Kingdom of God is advanced one awkward conversation at a time. Click To Tweet

What relationship is sitting on your heart as one that needs some fresh air and conflict resolution? Take it to God in prayer and maybe even to that person.

Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. She is a writer, podcaster, and speaker, but potty training four boys will be the achievement on her epitaph. Shannon and her family make their home in central Iowa, where they seek to live out the social teachings of the Church in their small and ordinary days. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our 2018 Advent Study, forthcoming and Blessed Conversations: The Our Father study found here.

5 Comments

  • Reply
    Blessy Tamayo
    September 11, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Please pray for me. I have a relationship that needs conflict resolution and when I came across this, this is just what I needed and have been praying for. I’ve been afraid because I just don’t know how to go about it, but I pray for courage that I may not run away when I should be facing this head on.
    Thank you, Shannon for sharing this! May God bless you.

    • Reply
      Shannon Evans
      September 11, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      Praying for you! That’s so hard. May the Spirit guide you!

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    September 11, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Friendship break ups are the worst! Even worse when you don’t even know why you stopped being friends. Please pray for me as I process how to approach a friend that is no longer a friend. Lord please soften both of our hearts. Thank you for this devotional!

    • Reply
      Shannon Evans
      September 11, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      That’s so painful, Kimberly! I hope and pray the friendship can be restored, and if not that you can both heal separately.

  • Reply
    Jean-Paul Marie Justin
    September 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    So, when IS it time to take the matter to a secular court? Is hundreds of years of focusing on forgiveness and reconciliation, the reason why the response to the sexual abuse crisis seems “right” when considered vertically a matter to be resolved internally even if it is “a denial” of criminality of the horizontal? Hundreds of years of forgiveness and reconciliation for the sake of the Kingdom, yes hundreds of years such that any response other than that is deemed contentious.

    Re-reading 1 Corinthians
    Why not rather put up with injustice?
    Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?
    do you seat as judges people of no standing in the Church?
    Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
    Do not be deceived;
    neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers
    nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves
    nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers
    will inherit the Kingdom of God.
    Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
    Do not be deceived;
    neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers
    nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves
    nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers
    will inherit the Kingdom of God.
    Is that “punishment” enough? for such?

    It seems that “leaving them to God” is the response that
    has undone much good. When is 70x70x70 assisting another in
    their sin?
    Assisting in another’s sin By Counsel or By Silence By Command By Consent By Provocation
    By Praise or By Flattery By concealment By Partaking and or By Defense of the Ill done.

    These are the matters that burden all of us! I know, that I do not know. What I do know — is that
    prayer and fasting strengthens the Body of Christ. So does kindness, a smile, the corporal and
    spiritual works of mercy. The celebration of the Eucharist strengthens the Body of Christ. Challenging
    my own heart to focus on Strengthening the Body of Christ, is what I can do.

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