I am a turtle.
That means when I encounter conflict, I hide in my shell. I can’t say it’s comfortable in here. It’s pretty cold, actually. But at least I’m not out there. With the people.
I spend a lot of time alone, avoiding, away.
I watch conflict from a safe distance. At least that’s what I think I’m doing. I’ve learned lately that I’m actually coddling it, heating it like an egg under a lamp, growing it, preparing it to hatch.
Over the past few weeks my husband’s preached a series called "How to Make Peace." Because we Christians are a peace people, defined by peace, living at peace with the body, carrying peace to the world. That’s the plan anyway.
I can’t say we’re living up to it. A lot of us are mean. And drama queens. Fussy, picky, finger-pointing, and passive aggressive. We stir up conflict and run away from conflict, refusing to diffuse it, leaving it to fester and grow, reaching and infecting like mold.
Why are we so bad at peace?
For me, it’s not that I don’t want it—oh, I really, really do—it’s that I don’t have the guts to make it. To have a hard conversation, to make an actual phone call, or (the horror!) meet and talk face to face.
I am the girl who wears her brand new boots with missing zippers because she’d rather ignore the fact that they’re broken than actually drive them to the shoe repair shop and get them fixed.
I like fixed. I am intimidated (and frustrated) by fixing. I’d rather move on and start over.
That doesn’t work so well with relationships.
For others of you, peace is hard because you’re a shark. You choose fight, not flight, in response to conflict, and your sharp teeth and bitter words crush the people around you. By the time you calm down, you’re covered in blood and your “opponent” (your husband or wife, child, or friend) is either long gone or terrified, cowering, unable to see you as much more than a monster.
It’s hard for monsters to make peace. We don’t trust them.
As I think about peace today, I’m thinking of so many situations. Of friends in failing marriages. Of teenagers at odds with their parents. Of vitriolic facebook friends, always provoking. Of politicians arguing in television ads. Of politicians arguing in congress. Of Syria. And Sudan. And now Russia.
I think of millions of people in boxing gloves, everyone waiting to punch.
We need to make peace.
The world needs Christians to make peace.
It’s a tall order. And while it may seem like more than any one of us can do, alone or together, there are steps we can take to start right now. Little baby steps that grow up into strides and launch into a full-on sprint.
Right now, today, this minute, you can begin making peace.
To start, watch this series of lessons, "How to Make Peace."
You’ll learn that not only is peace possible, it’s possible for you.
My prayer for all of us is that we’d do (and receive) this:
"Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” II Corinthians 13:11
May the God of love and peace be with you.
P.S. You can also follow my friend Peggy’s blog: Peace is a Choice. She has great ideas about small and large scale peace-making.