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Recently, as I was thumbing through one of my High School yearbooks, I laughed aloud at some of the comments written by long-forgotten classmates. One of them read, “Jennifer, I hope you achieve everything you want in life. You are so nice. Just don’t be too nice.”
Too nice...who, me?
Peacemaking has been at the core of who I am for as long as I can remember. But contrary to what some people may believe, “nice girls” aren’t always surrounded by rays of sunshine and perpetual smiles. If I’m completely honest, there are often intense battles of discouragement, disappointment, and flat-out weariness that rise up. And though they come and go, I’ve noticed three persistent thoughts that war against my peacemaking ways. Perhaps you can relate.
Battle #1: "No one hears."
Anger and frustration rise to the surface when we feel unheard. After all, why don’t others automatically agree with us?! But I’d like to suggest that we stop trying to make people listen and simply remain faithful to the One who does listen. God sees every attempt we make to keep the peace in our corner of the world, but only He can cause His Word to go forth and not return void (Isaiah 55:11).
Battle #2: "It’s not doing any good."
Unfortunately, we peacemakers tend to have high expectations of others. Idealistic thinking is a common characteristic. Because peace seems like such a noble cause, we don’t understand why others don’t embrace it! If we don’t see the changes we’d like, we may grow weary and want to give up. However, let us remember that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to prompt the hearts of people to change. We can confidently leave the “heart work” up to Him.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10).
Battle #3: "Perhaps I’m being too passive."
Just as my classmate warned me against being “too nice,” I’d like to raise a hand of caution for my fellow peacemakers. Passive, tolerant, faith can become “sin-enabling” if we’re not careful. Sometimes, peacemaking involves doing hard things, making difficult decisions, or standing against popular beliefs. We’ve all seen leaders who are too permissive, not wanting to ruffle feathers, and eventually, they are overrun. There is a healthy balance between yielding to one another in brotherly love and not compromising truth.
Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” (Matthew 10:34-36).
These are words spoken by the Prince of Peace Himself! He died on a cross to reconcile us to God, but He knew it would ultimately divide people. Our words and actions may not be accepted, but we must stand on the truth of God’s Word without apology.
Finally, Jesus gave a beautiful promise in Matthew chapter 5, when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” As believers, we have all been adopted as sons and daughters, but this reminder from the beatitudes is precious for us who feel like we are failing to make a difference. To know that one day we will be comforted, embraced, and surrounded by perfect peace, makes the battle well worth it.
Occasionally, I wish I wasn’t so amicable. I don’t always feel like doing or saying the right thing. I even wonder if life would be easier if I was mean. But mostly, I rest in the fact that the Lord must have seen fit to gift me with this precious responsibility; the responsibility to seek peace and pursue it...wars and all.
Related Video: How Can I Find True Peace?
Jennifer Waddle is best known for words of encouragement as an Author, Speaker and Musician for Women’s Ministry. She currently has three published books on Amazon and is a regular contributor for WomensMinistryTools.com and GotQuestions.org. Jennifer is committed to sharing authentic messages of hope to women of all walks of life. She loves being a wife of 24 years, mom of four, and nana of two. Most of all, she cherishes her time spent in the Word of God, with a cup of coffee and a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. Contact Jennifer here: www.jenniferwaddleonline.com or [email protected]