Angry People

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.

Don’t Mollify

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.

Photo by Ruth Caron on Unsplash

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A sign that says PEACE

Peacemakers Are In Short Supply

Some of the most devastating kinds of disagreements occur between adult family members. I know that when my Grandma died, the ensuing arguments destroyed that tenuous family – my mother mostly avoid the carnage. And, just recently, I happen to overhear what seemed like an innocuous comment. I was not eavesdropping! Sometimes we end up at the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyway, this comment, overtly devoid of venom, was received by the hearer as crushing.

We find in Acts 7:26, where Stephen, the Church’s first martyr, spoke about how Moses acted as a peacemaker. It takes boldness to say, as Moses did, to bitter foes, “Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?” The result of Moses’ intervention was that both men turned on him!

Peacemakers Are In Danger

For Moses, his work as peacemaker placed him in danger. Still, Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, for Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God…” (Matthew 5:9 ESV) Now, when I think about peacemakers, I also have to consider peacekeepers.

A peacekeeper typically is someone that is continually working to keep the status quo. Their motto is, “Don’t rock the boat.” There can be some merit in this approach, but it’s not maintainable, and Jesus didn’t call us to be peacekeepers. No, Jesus wants us to trust Him and, with love, peel away the facade of “It’s okay” so that the actual problems are revealed and dealt with.

Godly peacemakers are people who want to lance the boil so healing can begin. They see interpersonal conflicts as failures to live in the image of God. God will call you to active duty as a peacemaker. When called, you will need to be “prayed up” and in tune with the Holy Spirit for each word you speak or write will be judged. And, if we have any hidden dirty laundry, as Moses had, you can be sure that it will be brought out and thrown in your face. So, don’t have dirty laundry. Be like Daniel. Make sure that no matter how extensively your enemies search, they won’t find a valid accusation to bring against you.

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash

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