My son and I are on a mini-vacation. Yesterday, the man behind us at a gas station became angry when my son went into the store to pay for the gas while our car was at the pump.
This left us “hogging” a pump which made the driver behind us so upset he came up to my car to yell at me. I was in the passenger seat. I lowered my window and listened to his complaint. As he then stormed off, I said a quick prayer and hobbled back to his pickup truck.
He lowered his window, and I began by apologizing. He said the apology didn’t help. So, I just started talking to him. I accepted the fault, understood the impact to him of our selfishness, and continued to absorb his understandable anger instead of reflecting it at him.
Ran Out Of Steam
Rather quickly, he ran out of steam and began to become more congenial. By the time my son got back to our car, the driver had forgiven us and wished us a good day. I thanked Jesus on my way back to our car, and we drove away with everyone reasonably happy.
Jesus said, in His sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) We are all called to be peacemakers. And, there is a big difference between peacemakers and peacekeepers.
Yes, my son and I were inconsiderate, and that was wrong. The anger of the driver behind us was justifiable. So, as much as I wanted to, I could not ignore the problem. I was going to be either a peacekeeper or a peacemaker.
A peacekeeper is a person that mollifies angry people. There is often little value from peacekeeping because they work to suppress hurt feelings. By sealing a person’s anger, the peacekeeper may achieve short-lived success, but eventually, that anger will come out. And, the more prolonged anger is suppressed, the more bitterness and fury will be manifested. Anyone that receives this explosion of rage probably has had little to do with causing the anger.
Jesus didn’t call us to be peacekeepers; instead, we are to be peacemakers. The peacemaker’s role is difficult, but a part each Christian is called to do. It’s our job to tenderly “lance the boil” of anger, hatred, and bitterness. These harsh emotions evaporate like frost on a field when they come out of their darkness into the Light of God’s glory.
It is our job to gently open the wound so that it can receive the treatment it needs by the Holy Spirit, and then we suture the damaged tissue so healing can be completed. Accordingly, if you haven’t done so already, add peacemaker to your Follower of Jesus job description.