I was reminded by a student of mine that I don't need to take matters into my own hands, when I have God.
I was talking about what it means to be a peacemaker. And I said we should live in peace with everyone around us. The Bible says that 'as long as it is in my power, I should."
And it makes sense, right?
We should be kind, and not start trouble.
However, when my student brought up this verse, I realized that there is more to being a peacemaker than I even wanted to admit.
You see, it's one thing to be nice to people. But it's an entirely different and more challenging thing to stay put when people hurt you or someone you care about.
Like when we were kids and someone did something mean to a friend, I wanted to see justice done.
Or like when the girl, who was supposed to be my best friend, made fun of me after I got stitches.
I can still remember it as if it was yesterday.
Second grade. Recess time. And there I was, running after Jeanette until she could not run anymore, I finally socked her in the stomach.
Or during my teenage years, when my sister was badly hurt, and I wanted her offender to also hurt... badly.
And now.... well, now it's easier to show self-control. I guess it's part of maturing in life. I no longer go around chasing people who cause me pain. Oh... but I guess at times, I have. Though no one has noticed. It's one of those "heart issues" that God deals with.
Staying put.... it's easy to do when things seem calm in your life. But when tension makes its residence a permanent one in your life because of hurts and disagreements, it just doesn't seem easy to stay put, let alone trust that God will take care of it.
Did I just admit that it's hard to trust God at times?
I guess I did.
When things seem to be moving along smoothly, of course, I can trust God! But when I'm hurt and in constant suffering; aaaahhhh, that's when it gets tricky.
Are you following here? Have you been there? Been there done that?
I'm sure you have.
You see I'm constantly hearing about people who are suffering and hurting. People I care about are dealing with physical ailments and illnesses. Friends of mine are suffering becasue of broken relationships. Some have been hurt by the animosity of others. Others are hurt because of their own stupid mistakes.
I've been hurt by friends, acquantainces, and loved ones. And I know for me, when that happens, two things occur. First, I break down and then I lash out.
Did I just admit to another flaw?
Wow, I'm on a roll.
How foolish that disciple must have felt-- many say it was Peter-- when Jesus told him to put away his sword. Reminding him that He was in control.
And yet, I also admit to how foolish I've been.... to think that I could handle my cares best. That I could possibly defend myself with my own strength.
I admit... there is no strength here.
None that I could take true credit for.
Though I've tried, time and time again I've been reminded that putting my trust in God, my true defender, is my actual source of strength.