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Monday, March 5, 2018

A paradox for peacemakers

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I am prone to frustration as anyone is, but there is a particular annoyance that impinges me. It is overload. It is the clash between multiple tasks, a plethora of incoming communication, and time pressure. I can bear other frustrations well, especially relational frustrations.
But overload situations create enormous conflict in me.
The trouble for me is, in being a creative, I can feel at times like I’m force-fed with all kinds of thoughts, sayings, ideas, etc. And because my form of creative gift is through the words I receive and give, it can cause great conflict in me as I seek to record everything I’m given before I forget it… this can at times be impossible, if I’m given more than a half dozen things simultaneously — which is not uncommon.
Add to this propensity for conflict the need for me to ‘keep up’ with the incoming tasks, emails, texts, etc, conflict is something I have an intimate relationship with. People might ask, why is it you feel you need to keep up? It’s simple — I have a zero tolerance for procrastination and inefficiency in most areas of my life. I hold to the ideal that people are important, and their dealings with me are just as important. It means I bear more of a burden than others might. It like to keep the peace. But I also see myself as a peacemaker — I’m prepared to break past my desire to keep the peace in order that true biblical peace might be procured.[1] I am prepared to risk a relationship so reconciliation can be achieved. This obviously adds to the conflict I bear within myself.
God showed me something recently about conflict and peacemaking. He showed me there is a paradox for peacemakers. That, in desiring peace as a God-pleasing way to live life, and in actively seeking to create peace, peacemakers must endure much conflict.
See the paradox? Peacemakers may experience more conflict than a person who can live with conflict.
I think peacemakers abhor conflict more than most, and they dearly need to resolve it. The presence of conflict creates a burden of conflict within a peacemaker. But that conflict is its own opportunity — to acknowledge the conflict, deal with the frustration, and make a commitment to overcome the conflict.
A relationship with conflict is something we must accept. Once we accept that conflict is an essential precursor to reconciliation, we see it as an opportunity.

[1] See peacewise.org.au for more information on biblical peacemaking: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18 NIV)

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