As I work with students in college ministry, I am grieved when I see Christians upset with one another but unwilling to resolve their frustrations in the manner God has prescribed. Yet nothing gives me more joy when I see two students go directly to one another to confess, ask forgiveness, and experience restored friendship as a result.
Blessed Are the PeacemakersJesus said peacemakers will actually be blessed (Matthew 5:9). Yet we do not naturally make peace. When we feel hurt by someone, we may respond in one of these ways:
- Avoidance: We may completely ignore the person, not making eye contact or pretending that we just don't see him or her. There may be an "elephant in the room," but it feels more comfortable to pretend the issue doesn't exist. We brush it under the rug and may even build up walls of bitterness in our hearts. Perhaps we gossip about the person who hurt us, making the issue even more dramatic. Avoidance can be driven by a fear of confrontation.
- Accusation: When we respond with accusation, we aren't afraid to address the ways we have been hurt, but we do it in a way that lacks love and grace. We are harsh and abrasive, coming at the other person with an accusatory tone. Our hearts are far from humble. We have no problem telling the other person that he was completely out of line, essentially saying, "How could you do such a thing?" There is no category for imperfection in our minds. We expect other people never to fail and are devastated when they not only fail but directly harm us in the process. Accusation is often driven by pride and anger.