Have you ever done the assignment where you describe yourself with one word? One of my descriptions would be 'peace'. Peace and peaceful surroundings keep me grounded. I like people to be at peace around me and when things are not peaceful, I love to help bring peace to situations.
While loving peace, I hate confrontation. I avoid it, run from it, steer clear and try to bring peace before it escalates. But....conflict and confrontation are inevitable. In fact, conflict can be found in the strangest places! I once found myself on the receiving end of confrontation for simply calling someone to try to help a family member. Ouch!!
Since confrontation will occur, it is important to be prepared for when that time comes. The first response is often to guard our selves and respond with defensiveness and pride. Sometimes...
• We emphasize our strengths and make excuses for our weaknesses. Then when we compare ourselves to others, we naturally think, “Hey! I’m not as bad as they are!”
• Rather than humbly listening to the criticism and striving to grow in wisdom and grace, we attack the person who is confronting us. Such arrogance blinds us and dooms us to immaturity.
I'm so guilty of both of these reactions. But, as Christians, we should be continually growing in the Lord and seeking His ways above our ways. Rather than focusing on our strengths or even focusing on our confronter, we can focus our passions, energies, and attention where they rightly belong–the cross of Jesus Christ.
When we gaze at the holiness of God and see the awesome price that had to be paid for our salvation–the very death of the very Son of God–we see beyond a shadow of a doubt that whatever criticism a person might lay on us, they don’t know the half of it. As Alfred Poirier reminds us in his article, The Cross and Criticism, "the depth of our depravity is so great that our only hope is to rely solely on Jesus." And his death is sufficient. His resurrection is sufficient. Because he lived and died and rose again, we need never despair. Even when confronted. . . especially then. Whether the confrontation is gracious or graceless; redemptive or just plain-ol’ mean … we can humbly listen, give it its due, grow in grace, and move on. Because “God has forgiven us and is working in us to help us to change.”
It is only when I put myself aside does His peace take over. And that brings about true peace.
excerpts from Peacemakers Ministries