This morning I read a news story about two moose who had frozen to death while fighting in Alaska. It is rutting season and the two male moose were likely fighting over a female. During their struggle, they got their antlers tangled together and literally died because of their conflict. If only there had been a moose peacemaker!
When Paul urged his “loyal yokefellow” to help two women, Euodia and Syntyche, to “agree in the Lord (Phil. 4:2),” he knew how important the ministry of peacemaking is. Paul was certainly no stranger to conflict. He fought with Peter, Barnabas and other church leaders. Where ever effective ministry is taking place, Satan is bound to sow seeds of discord. Conflict can kill our effectiveness as Christians as surely as it killed those two moose in Alaska, but it doesn’t have to.
When the devil is doing his evil work around us, there is something that we can do about it. Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God (Matthew 5:9).” We can be peacemakers! Here are a few ways to do that.
First, let’s not add fuel to the fire. We can refuse to engage in gossip about the conflict, respond to social media posts about it, or take sides in any way. Our example in this could very well squelch the issue before it gets out of hand.
Second, we have to understand that peacemaking is work. Emotionally draining work. The word “peacemaking” comes from a Greek word that means “to do.” It is bursting with energy and activity. Someone is going to have to drag the two parties to the table and give them a reason to set down their opinions and hurt feelings long enough to work things out. That person might be you.
Finally, we can know that the work of peacemaking is worth it. John 13:5 says that Christians are supposed to be known by their love for each other. When we are in heated, ongoing, unresolved conflict with each other we are forgetting our divine mission, which is to bring glory to God. When unbelievers around us see us put our own needs aside in order to live in peace with each other, they will likely be so shocked that they will want to take a look at the source of our peace- Christ Himself.
Peacemaking is worth the work.
(For those who have missed any of the previous lessons, you can go to https://comethirstyministry.com/blog/ and view all previous postings.)
Day 1: 1 Corinthians 14:26-39 (women and worship)
Day 2: 1 Corinthians 16:1-24 (Priscilla)
Day 3: Ephesians 5:1-33 (wives)
Day 4: Ephesians 6:1-20 (obey your mother!)
Day 5: Philippians 4:1-20 (Euoda and Syntyche)