They Just Wanted Peace…

Thomas just wanted peace in his home. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? He lived in constant fear of his wife leaving. All she had to do to get her way was yell at him, and he’d capitulate. Even if he knew it wasn’t the right thing, he did whatever was necessary to keep the peace. He lost the fire in his heart a long time ago, sacrificing the vision that made his heart soar for peace in his home.

Vanessa just wanted a peaceful holiday meal. Can everybody just get along for 6 hours? At least pretend to? She went out of her way to make something everyone liked, have activities everyone liked, and be the buffer between certain family members who apparently thrive on conflict. But everyone seemed to take for granted all her efforts to keep the peace. She’d long forgotten what she actually enjoyed.

Thomas and Vanessa have something in common. They’ve both sacrificed themselves for the sake of others to an extreme. To the point where they’ve forgotten who they themselves are and what makes their heart sing. They are both peace keepers.

Peace Keepers vs. Peace Makers

But didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peace keepers?” No, he didn’t. He totally did not. That verse actually says, “Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called sons of God.” Did you catch that? Peace makers not peace keepers. What’s the difference?

Peace keepers abandon what they know to be true, God’s calling on their life, even their very identity, for the sake of peace. To a peace keeper, the world is coming to an end if someone’s mad. The pain of someone being angry with them is too great. I know. I did this for decades. Having someone angry at me was excruciating because I believed the lie that it was my fault and hence I wasn’t lovable.

Peace keepers live in fear. Fear of the other person terminating the relationship. Fear of being yelled at. Fear of it being all their fault. They are starving for whatever relationship breadcrumbs the other person decides to throw their way.

Peace keepers surrender what they know is right for the sake of peace. But some peace isn’t worth having. If that peace is based on selfish desires — instant gratification — the things of our old sinful nature, that peace is a false peace not worth having. That’s not peace.

Peace is not just the absence of conflict. Peace is a Kingdom of God thing. It’s got to do with rest. Confidence. Security. And the foundational knowledge that God is with you because you’re moving in what he’s called you to do. You’re living life his way.

Peace makers go hard after God’s calling on their life. They won’t compromise it. But they aren’t a jerk about it either. They don’t try to manipulate or force others into it. They find a way to communicate it and, if need be, pursue it in spite of opposition, even from family. They invite their family and their inner circle to come along.

Peace makers invite peace. They don’t surrender for it. It’s neither capitulation, manipulation, nor aggression. It’s an invitation.

“I know God is leading me this way, and my hand is open to you, inviting you to come along. You don’t have to come, although I hope you do. But whether you do or not, that’s where I’m going.” –Invitation of a Peace Maker

Dying to Self vs Pleasing People

But aren’t we supposed to surrender? Didn’t Jesus say, “deny yourself?” Yes, he did, and I love Luke 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I have that book-marked in my Bible. That’s one of my favorite verses.

But don’t it get twisted to mean something Jesus never intended. What are you denying yourself for? What Jesus has called you to, not to please people. Who are we supposed to surrender to? Jesus — not some bully.

The good news is, you can totally move from peace keeper to peace maker. I paid a price for making this move. The bullies in my life were not happy they could no longer control me, and some of them painfully ended relationship. They were fine with the Dave who would sacrifice everything for them, but not so much with the Dave who spoke life and learned to say “no.” It was very painful and still is.

But it’s so worth it to boldly step out into what God has for you and darn the torpedoes. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating being stupid. I’m advocating boldness, not brashness. I’m no longer living in fear. Walking out God’s vision in our life is the most exhilarating adventure ever.

Here are 2 tips that helped me move from a fearful peace keeper to a bold peace maker. If you’re a peace keeper, I pray they help you as well.

1) Not everyone’s point-of-view is equally valid.

I came into every conversation thinking the other person wanted to legitimately solve the problem like I did. I assumed they were pursuing, not their own agenda, but what was mutually best for everyone like I was.Unfortunately, and I found this out the hard way, that’s not always true.

Some people don’t enter into an argument to find what’s best, they are just trying to win. Do not give these people’s point-of-view the same weight as your own. That sounds unfair, but believe me, they are not giving your point-of-view the time of day. They are just trying to win. They don’t care about what’s good, right, and true.

Although they appear self-confident, deep down some people are very insecure and very self-condemning. They are believing a lot of foundational lies about themselves, and they are trying to protect their own heart through controlling you and everything else.

You can recognize these people by a few tell-tale signs:

  • They take disagreement as a personal attack.
  • In general, they don’t sacrifice for anybody.

2) The world is not coming to an end because someone is angry with you.

You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You don’t have to wear kid gloves. You deserve to be treated like a human being, even if you’re wrong. You deserve to be respected by the other person even when they disagree with you.

Choose to require respect. Don’t demand it or be a jerk about it. Don’t escalate the situation to their level. Instead, here are some ways to require respect.

  • Have the conversation in a public place, like a coffee shop or a restaurant, or even a park with people around. There is much more social pressure on the other person to be respectful and not make a scene than when you’re in private. A coffee shop or a Paneras-like restaurant is better because you pay up-front and don’t have your check holding you there (see below).
  • Say something like this: “I want to have this conversation with you, but you can’t talk to me like that. We can try again when you’re ready to treat me with respect.” Then simply walk out of the room (if you’re at home) or get in your car and drive away (if you’re in a public place). Don’t let their cat-calls stop you. Once you decide to leave, go.

If you’re doing your best to follow Jesus and not pursue your own selfish agenda, denying yourself for the sake of the calling on your life, then, in general, their anger is not your fault. They have a choice of how they respond. So do you.

You are allowed to make honest mistakes. It’s called learning. You are allowed to even be wrong. It’s called being human. You still deserve love and respect.

You deserve love and respect because you are valuable to God, not because of what you do or provide.

Don’t starve begging for relationship breadcrumbs. You are worth the whole 4-course meal.

Thomas just wanted peace in his home. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? He lived in constant fear of his wife leaving. All she had to do to get her way was yell at him, and he’d capitulate. Even if he knew it wasn’t the right thing, he did whatever was necessary to keep the peace. He lost the fire in his heart a long time ago, sacrificing the vision that made his heart soar for peace in his home.

Vanessa just wanted a peaceful holiday meal. Can everybody just get along for 6 hours? At least pretend to? She went out of her way to make something everyone liked, have activities everyone liked, and be the buffer between certain family members who apparently thrive on conflict. But everyone seemed to take for granted all her efforts to keep the peace. She’d long forgotten what she actually enjoyed.

Thomas and Vanessa have something in common. They’ve both sacrificed themselves for the sake of others to an extreme. To the point where they’ve forgotten who they themselves are and what makes their heart sing. They are both peace keepers.

Peace Keepers vs. Peace Makers

But didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peace keepers?” No, he didn’t. He totally did not. That verse actually says, “Blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called sons of God.” Did you catch that? Peacemakers not peace keepers. What’s the difference?

Peace keepers abandon what they know to be true, God’s calling on their life, even their very identity, for the sake of peace. To a peace keeper, the world is coming to an end if someone’s mad. The pain of someone being angry with them is too great. I know. I did this for decades. Having someone angry at me was excruciating because I believed the lie that it was my fault and hence I wasn’t lovable.

Peace keepers live in fear. Fear of the other person terminating the relationship. Fear of being yelled at. Fear of it being all their fault. They are starving for whatever relationship breadcrumbs the other person decides to throw their way.

Peace keepers surrender what they know is right for the sake of peace. But some peace isn’t worth having. If that peace is based on selfish desires — instant gratification — the things of our old sinful nature, that peace is a false peace not worth having. That’s not peace.

Peace is not just the absence of conflict. Peace is a Kingdom of God thing. It’s got to do with rest. Confidence. Security. And the foundational knowledge that God is with you because you’re moving in what he’s called you to do. You’re living life his way.

Peace makers go hard after God’s calling on their life. They won’t compromise it. But they aren’t a jerk about it either. They don’t try to manipulate or force others into it. They find a way to communicate it and, if need be, pursue it in spite of opposition, even from family. They invite their family and their inner circle to come along.

Peace makers invite peace. They don’t surrender for it. It’s neither capitulation, manipulation, nor aggression. It’s an invitation.

“I know God is leading me this way, and my hand is open to you, inviting you to come along. You don’t have to come, although I hope you do. But whether you do or not, that’s where I’m going.” –Invitation of a Peace Maker

Dying to Self vs Pleasing People

But aren’t we supposed to surrender? Didn’t Jesus say, “deny yourself?” Yes, he did, and I love Luke 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” I have that book-marked in my Bible. That’s one of my favorite verses.

But don’t it get twisted to mean something Jesus never intended. What are you denying yourself for? What Jesus has called you to, not to please people. Who are we supposed to surrender to? Jesus — not some bully.

The good news is, you can totally move from peace keeper to peace maker. I paid a price for making this move. The bullies in my life were not happy they could no longer control me, and some of them painfully ended relationship. They were fine with the Dave who would sacrifice everything for them, but not so much with the Dave who spoke life and learned to say “no.” It was very painful and still is.

But it’s so worth it to boldly step out into what God has for you and darn the torpedoes. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating being stupid. I’m advocating boldness, not brashness. I’m no longer living in fear. Walking out God’s vision in our life is the most exhilarating adventure ever.

Here are 2 tips that helped me move from a fearful peace keeper to a bold peace maker. If you’re a peace keeper, I pray they help you as well.

1) Not everyone’s point-of-view is equally valid.

I came into every conversation thinking the other person wanted to legitimately solve the problem like I did. I assumed they were pursuing, not their own agenda, but what was mutually best for everyone like I was.Unfortunately, and I found this out the hard way, that’s not always true.

Some people don’t enter into an argument to find what’s best, they are just trying to win. Do not give these people’s point-of-view the same weight as your own. That sounds unfair, but believe me, they are not giving your point-of-view the time of day. They are just trying to win. They don’t care about what’s good, right, and true.

Although they appear self-confident, deep down some people are very insecure and very self-condemning. They are believing a lot of foundational lies about themselves, and they are trying to protect their own heart through controlling you and everything else.

You can recognize these people by a few tell-tale signs:

  • They take disagreement as a personal attack.
  • In general, they don’t sacrifice for anybody.

2) The world is not coming to an end because someone is angry with you.

You don’t have to walk on egg shells. You don’t have to wear kid gloves. You deserve to be treated like a human being, even if you’re wrong. You deserve to be respected by the other person even when they disagree with you.

Choose to require respect. Don’t demand it or be a jerk about it. Don’t escalate the situation to their level. Instead, here’s some ways to require respect.

  • Have the conversation in a public place, like a coffee shop or a restaurant, or even a park with people around. There is much more social pressure on the other person to be respectful and not make a scene than when you’re in private. A coffee shop or a Paneras-like restaurant is better, because you pay up-front and don’t have your check holding you there (see below).
  • Say something like this: “I want to have this conversation with you, but you can’t talk to me like that. We can try again when you’re ready to treat me with respect.” Then simply walk out of the room (if you’re at home) or get in your car and drive away (if you’re in a public place). Don’t let their cat-calls stop you. Once you decide to leave, go.

If you’re doing your best to follow Jesus and not pursue your own selfish agenda, denying yourself for the sake of the calling on your life, then, in general, their anger is not your fault. They have a choice of how they respond. So do you.

You are allowed to make honest mistakes. It’s called learning. You are allowed to even be wrong. It’s called being human. You still deserve love and respect.

You deserve love and respect because you are valuable to God, not because of what you do or provide.

Don’t starve begging for relationship breadcrumbs. You are worth the whole 4-course meal.

Dave grew up in Los Angeles, CA, graduating with a Master’s in Mathematics from UCLA. He now lives in Stafford, VA, and has worked as a software engineer for 30+ years. He and his wife, Janet, volunteer at their local crisis pregnancy center doing post-abortive recovery. After much brokenness and loss in his family, job, and churches, Dave loves to write and share the healing he’s received. IdentityInWholeness.com.
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Dave grew up in Los Angeles, CA, graduating with a Master’s in Mathematics from UCLA. He now lives in Stafford, VA, and has worked as a software engineer for 30+ years. He and his wife, Janet, volunteer at their local crisis pregnancy center doing post-abortive recovery. After much brokenness and loss in his family, job, and churches, Dave loves to write and share the healing he’s received. IdentityInWholeness.com.

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