This year I am going to …
As I write this, the new year is now well and truly underway. Over the break though, I had a little bit of time for reflection – some headspace to imagine our year ahead and maybe imagine something different.
We seem to be surrounded by self-help books and podcasts promising to help us make whatever change we feel would be the best. And yet so often our hopes, intentions and plans just seem to fizzle out and what we end up with is something not really that different.
What about peace for the new year?
On a world scale we often speak of a desire for world peace. Imagine a news feed with no mention of civil wars, coups or countries being invaded. And on a more personal level – imagine families and churches known as places where peace is the norm?
Of course, we know that conflict exists in this world – for example, we’ve just passed one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And we know that until Jesus returns, conflict will be a part of our daily lives (James 4:1-2). And yet, we also know that Jesus calls us to be radically different – he calls us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).
So, how can peace be a reality?
It isn’t enough to simply tick through the PeaceWise steps and think that we can do this peacemaking in our own strength. The experience we all have of resolutions starting strong and fizzling are evidence that following a step-by-step guide is not enough.
The good news is that there is something, or rather someone, that does help us make peace. Of course, that person is Jesus, and it is the Gospel of reconciliation that enables us to be peacemakers.
And there is good reason why the peacemaking process must be centred on the Gospel and glorifying God. If our eyes are on us then our posture is not humble, it is not one that is ready and willing for the heart surgery that often happens when we seek to make peace. As I have been thinking this though, I’ve been helped by the Wesley Covenant Prayer…
I wonder if this is our prayer before God, that when conflict arises, we will have the heart to turn to God, to seek to glorify him in the conflict with our eyes on him and not on us. And the PeaceWise steps will flow as the Spirit enables us to glorify and obey Jesus’ command to be peacemakers.
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This article was written by Ann Cunningham. Ann works as Care Pastor in an Anglican Church in Sydney. She is married to Corey and they have three daughters in late teens and early twenties. The principles of biblical peacemaking have been transforming her work in pointing people to Jesus to both strengthen their love of Jesus and restore relationships.