Matthew 5:9 (KJV) – Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.
Have you ever tried to restore a relationship between two people (or groups) and things got worse? Even though you had the best intentions and wanted a peaceful resolution, the outcome was FAR from perfect. You want people to get along and enjoy a peaceful co-existence (and even get along), but the two ‘sides’ don’t seem to want peace. What do you do?!
1. You can’t make them drink. Most of us have heard the saying, ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.’ With relationships, you can bring people together, but you can’t make them get along. Even if you have the best of intentions, bringing these sides together may not bring the peace or outcome you desire.
…don’t try it unless it is God-directed…
2. Understand that each person/group may never come to ‘terms’ with one another. For whatever reason, neither side will move toward a compromise or any other form of reconciliation. Each side holds to their ‘terms,’ unwilling to negotiate. Years and decades can go by and both sides are comfortable with not speaking to one another.
Even if the situation pains you, you must understand that you can’t make them drink…
3. Make peace with each person. When the sides are unwilling to reconcile, you can do your part in building a healthy relationship with each side. Each person has a different (and specific) path toward peace to follow. Therefore, it will be important for you to think of the person’s needs above your own (Philippians 2:4) and build from there.
Now, there may be situations where you are ‘clumped’ with the one of the sides and other side isn’t speaking with you. If this is the case, remember, you can’t make them drink. You can try to reach out to them through letters, phone calls, etc. (no overburdening or stalking), but it must be within GodÂ’s timing and method.
4. Learn to live with the reality of the current circumstances. The situation may not seem pleasant and go against everything you desire to see, but you must find peace in the way things are. This is not to say you don’t want peace or don’t care about the people involved, but if they don’t want peace, you involvement to bring them together may make things worse.
Each person has their own reasons for division. Each dynamic is different and will require your patience, understanding, and love.
5. Don’t become emotionally charged. When you allow your emotions to get the best of you, you may make decisions that bring additional pain, strife, and division.
Proverbs 4:26 – Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful.
6. Pray (this should be first and continuous throughout your situations). In the context of relationships, there are many dynamics to being a peacemaker. Some situations seem so daunting, painful, and complex that you don’t know where to begin (or end). Pray to God about the best course of action to take. Sometimes we want to jump into action to do something (for the sake of doing something), but maybe the best thing to do is to pray (and be still). We may not have all the answers, but we know Someone that does. Let’s go to Him and ask for His help.
Don’t allow the strain of relationships deter you from being a peacemaker. You cannot control the decisions of others, but you can control your own actions. Don’t let go of your dream of reconciliation and peace!
Photo courtesy of freeimages.com/Davide Guglielmo