Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
It's easy to lose track of what the goal of our lives here is. Our goal is to get to heaven. Lucky for us God has made it pretty clear what we need to do to make that happen. Where better to start than with the golden rule: Treat others how you would want to be treated. So much easier said than done sometimes! Trust me, I have had many situations where someone was rude to me and I was rude right back. I've also had the situation where I was rude to someone for no reason. Neither situation made me feel good about myself. I have found myself in situations where I felt I was being verbally attacked and needed to defend myself so I verbally attacked back. Again, when the episode was over, I didn't feel good about myself. I have also had experiences where I was able to have self control and either not say anything or remove myself from the situation. Surprisingly, this did make me feel better. I felt better because I knew that I didn't give in to the temptation of engaging in a negative conversation with someone.
It's kind of like that saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I want to have peace with all of the people I come in contact with because my negativity really affects me the most. Have you ever had an argument with someone and when they said something mean to you, you responded by saying something hurtful right back? And when you wake up the next day, you still feel angry? Chances are you will continue to carry around the stress of that anger or your hurt feelings until you make peace with the other person. In the meantime, you have not grown as a person by holding on to your anger or hurt.
This always brings me back to Jesus. What better example of bringing peace in the face of anger do we have? Even though He was being beat and tortured, He asked His Father to forgive them! Carrying around anger towards others makes me feel heavy and irritated. Besides, how can I bring peace to others if I am carrying around negative feelings about other people? It is surprisingly powerful to forgive those who have hurt me because it takes away their ability to continue to affect me. I choose to forgive others because it allows ME to move on, not because of any effects it may have on the other person. I have also learned that saying I forgive is not saying what the other person did was ok, it is accepting that I cannot change what has been said or done and I am moving forward with or without them. This also doesn't mean I have to continue to associate with that person just because I have forgiven. I can choose to forgive and I can choose to disassociate from that person as well. It is ok to not have someone in your life because they have hurt you, it is not ok to harbor those hurt feelings besides.
Ok, so here's my last bit about being a person who does their best to bring peace to others. Let's stop with the gossip. Gossip is toxic. Partaking in it, listening to, or repeating it. Let's not feed the rumor mill about people in our life, workplace, school, or neighborhood. Let's just have honest, positive conversations with others and assume the BEST about them rather than conclude the worst. We can never know another's situation. We don't know what someone else might be dealing with in their own life. I can speak from my own experiences when I was at my darkest. When I was longing for children, having miscarriages and arguing with my husband, I projected my own pain into every situation I encountered. I barely remember a 12 month period of my life because I was so devastated and in pain! I'm sure I wasn't pleasant to be around and nobody knew what I was dealing with because I didn't share my situation with anyone except my husband and parents. Because of this experience, I try not to judge someone else because I don't know what someone else may be going through. Instead I try to just show them some kindness and show that I care.
Please God help me to be a person of peace, for myself and others. Help me to teach my children to bring peace to the people in their lives. Thank you for the ability to forgive others so there can be peace after tribulations.
Thanks for reading!
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