the first move. Conflict is always unpleasant so we naturally avoid facing it. Peacemakers break the deadlock. They know that conflict never resolves itself. It must be intentionally dealt with. "If ... you remember your brother has something against you ... go at once to make peace ..." (Matthew 5:23-24)
EMPATHIZE WITH THEIR FEELINGS. Listen before you talk. Try to look at the situation from their viewpoint. Feelings are not right or wrong - they are just feelings. But they are important! "None of you should look only of his own affairs, but consider other people's interests also." (Philippians 2:4 Ph)
ATTACK THE PROBLEM, NOT THE PERSON. Insults, accusations, and placing blame only make people defensive. You never get your point across by being cross. "A gentle answer quiets anger but a harsh one stirs it up." (Proverbs 15:1)
COOPERATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Look for common areas you can agree on. Be willing to admit your mistakes. Be gracious with other's faults. "Do everything possible, on your part, to live at peace with all men." (Romans 12:18)
EMPHASIZE RECONCILIATION, NOT RESOLUTION. Some differences will never be resolved. But there can be honest disagreements without two parties being disagreeable. Resolution deals with issues. Reconciliation deals with relationships. "God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:18)
To be a good peacemaker, we ourselves must also be at peace.
Perfect Picture of Peace
Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judges uncovered one peaceful scene after another, while the viewers clapped and cheered. The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner.
The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace? A tumultuous waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel its cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power. A little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested peace that transcends all earthly turmoil.
The world we live in is a place where it is easy to take our eyes off of Jesus Christ and put them on the surrounding storm, wind and waves like Peter did when he got out of the boat to walk to Jesus. Only when we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author or peace, will we have true peace in a world that is becoming increasingly less peaceful. These are the end times and we know from the Bible that things are going to go from bad to worse. But we have the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, in our lives and when we rest in the Lord we will find peace.