I prefer to avoid conflict at all cost. Insert four children. For years I prided myself on being a peace-seeking person. This simply meant I was a big chicken who would go around the block to avoid conflict. One day I learned Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers, not the peace seekers. Ouch! The reality of that lesson and realizing the difference meant a life-adjustment for me. If the blessing comes in peacemaking, I decided I wanted to learn the skill.
My children provided me ample opportunity to practice this newly sought peacemaking skill. It meant I could no longer yell from another room, “Don’t fight with your brother!” I had to get in the middle of conflict and make peace. This included sitting with my children and listening to them to evaluate the problem and resolution. It might have meant a consequence where they had to work together at a task or maybe they simply had to apologize and hug. I love the new idea I see of the “get along shirt”, where children wear a large shirt that fits the both of them until they work out their problem and get along. I so wish I had thought of that.
It was easy for me to ignore and deny conflict around me. As a mom of four children I had become quite adept at tuning out the unpleasant. I had to purpose to press-in and tune-in to conflict and to be strong and courageous and not fear the gut-twisting emotion of conquering conflict. In time, with a deep breath and a cup of coffee I could handle most any conflict.
I continued to long for peace without all the “making”, so I always declared my birthday and mother’s day as “no conflict days”. Like that happened. There is less peace to need making at our house these days, but I am forever grateful for all I learned during those years of intense training in the art of peace making.
Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.