A few weeks ago a friend asked me to be on a panel of women peace-makers at a conference for peacemakers. These are courageous women who are all in. They are PEACE-MAKERS.
I’m more of a peace-wanter.
My exact text response was “Are you freaking KIDDING me??!” I felt I was totally unqualified to be on the platform with women who are on the front lines in Israel, Palestine, Fergusson…
And I was, but they wanted me anyway and the reason I eventually said “yes” was because I think I’m like many of you who need a little encouragement that we all have a part to play.
We’re the “small things” people , the cheerleaders and the story-tellers and that’s ok, at least for a start.
When I got home, I was listening to a podcast message by Clay Scroggins and heard a phrase that was new to me. It’s really stuck in regard to my role in WORLD PEACE.
The phrase is, “You do you.” Parents use it to encourage their kids, friends use it to encourage each other – to be themselves, to own their values and choices. It can also remind us not to focus on what the other needs to do or change or realize, but focus on ourselves. Us. What we need to do.
You do you.
Paul really thought of it first. In my favorite peacemaking verse, Romans 12:18, he wrote:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Paul had made a boatload of enemies before becoming a Jesus-follower. Once he came to Christ he had his relational work cut out for him if he was going to live like this – at peace.
To me, “You Do You” means each day I need to ask first, “Am I at peace with God?”
…receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God. For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us! 2 Corinthians 5:20 MSG
Is there unconfessed sin in my life? And honestly, I become a heck of a lot more aware of my sin when I’m reading God’s Word. (Just sayin’)
Next, “Am I at peace with others?” (in my family, my neighborhood, my church, my office)
Is there bitterness towards anyone in my life? Do I need to ask forgiveness of anyone? Have I bad-mouthed anyone I resent?
If we’re parents or bosses or just human beings, when people around us see us doing the hard work of living at peace with others up close and personal it is a powerful catalyst. When I see someone modeling this kind of relational peace I think “Wow, if they have the courage to do this, maybe I can too.”
Lastly is the biggie – World Peace.
No, most of us aren’t going to work at the U.N. or live on the border of the Gaza strip, or serve in a refugee camp, but there are small things we can do that in God’s economy may make a big difference eventually.
Here are a few:
- Ask good questions of people different from yourself. Gather people of different faiths, nationalities, or political leanings around your table and ask them to tell their stories. And even if you can’t gather them yourself, connect with others like The Telos Group who are pro Israeli, pro Palestinian and pro peace and ask questions.
- Listen well to the other and to God. As my friend Jon Huckins suggests, “Listen longer than is comfortable.” Listen in a way that suspends judgment and puts yourself in the place of the other.
- Steward stories of peacemakers well. Shane Claiborne has said, “Once you know someone’s story, you are responsible.” That may mean I’m responsible to pray for that person, or share their story with others, or support them financially, or advocate for them with my government. I have a responsibility to steward and respond to what I know.
Who are some peace-makers you know doing small or dramatic things? Would you share a story?