There is a blessing available to peace makers, a powerful breed of overcomers who shift the atmosphere for relational health. Their life creates an invitation for others to enter wholeness, simply because they breathe reconciliation. They are not doormats, nor are they control freaks. They walk humbly before God and magnetically attract hearts who desire to live in how God designed relationships to be. They don’t just preach it. In fact, they demonstrate it far more than talk about it.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 NKJV
At the same time, there is a counterfeit to peace making. It masquerades as the real thing, but its a twisted and dysfunctional counterfeit. They are called peace keepers. Peace keepers walk amongst us all, claiming they have a huge value for peace, but what they really desire is an absence of conflict. They avoid any tension or displeasure from anyone, running from it at all costs. So their relational decisions often keep everything in status quo. Their relational posture is very passive, doing whatever necessary to avoid rocking the boat.
A peace maker brings a healthy self in God to the room, effecting the atmosphere in a way where people are invited to climb higher. Just being around a peace maker makes you want to grow up in how you do relationships. They don’t condemn or manipulate. They call people to drive out the strongholds and deception that keep unity from operating.
Relationships are hard work. Peace makers know this and are willing to do what it takes to come out on the other side stronger and fruitful. Peace keepers don’t want to face the uncomfortable stages of relationship that it takes to grow.
Are you a peace keeper or peace maker? Here are some signs you may still be a peace keeper.
1. You do things to keep people happy.
A peace keeper’s number one priority if making sure everyone is happy and ok. Many of them are really good at it too. Someone being mad at them or having a negative opinion about them is devastating, because their identity is formed around what other people think. Children of alcoholics and violent fathers often become people pleasers, because they lived their whole life trying to make sure an outburst did not occur. Churches that are loaded with peace keeping people pleasers can love using them to get things done, but nothing grows, because keeping people happy is more important than breaking through limiting beliefs and relationship patterns.
2. You sacrifice what is right to avoid tension.
Most people know what the right thing to do is. The key is actually implementing it, which often leads to others having negative opinions on the matter. I have made countless decisions that have upset family members, church goers and friends. Sometimes walking in love gets confused with peace keeping dysfunction. In order to break out of mediocrity, a tough decision is often needed. But if you are peace keeper, you won’t make the tough decision. You hope the problem will go away or someone else will make the decision for you.
3. You avoid confrontation like the plague.
I would say the number one fear keeping people from breaking into their destiny is the fear of confrontation. The idea of even stepping into it terrifies most. This fear conditions people to live as cowards, never facing the issues that need to be discussed with others.
I observe that people avoid confrontation, letting the issue boil in them until it explodes. Their anger is so intense at this point they lash out on others, while people scratch their heads in bewilderment. I also see many who claim they are great at confronting, but really they are great at condemning people. Their idea of conflict resolution is sitting down to throw darts at someone.
Peace makers know how to sit down and create an environment for healing and restoration. They engage conversation humbly, knowing their own sin and struggles can easily be a part of the problem. They talk in a way that is not accusatory, but seasoned with grace.
I have sat down to help coach people groups into better conflict resolution patterns. After we finished talking, the person would feel better and see things a bit more clearly. I would often ask, “Why didn’t you take this mindset with the people you had issues with?” Their response, “If they talked to me like you did, this problem would have been solved.”
The way we talk to people can make the biggest difference. Its not what we say, its how we say it. Peace makers don’t avoid conflict. They also don’t beat people over the head with truth. They know how to speak, because they have spent their life practicing and growing in how to have effective communication.
4. You feel the pulse of the room and acquiesce to it.
Peace keepers are thermometers. They reflect the spiritual and emotional temperature of the room. Even though they know the atmosphere should be different, they do nothing about it. They enter and room and come under whatever is there.
Peace makers are thermostats. They initiate the needed temperature that the room needs to carry. They don’t dictate it, they just carry health in them.
They do this by learning to lead themselves first. You can never look to others to be what you need to carry inside each day. The essence of leadership is not telling others what to do, but leading yourself and letting what you’ve practiced personally flow out to others.
5. You value status quo.
Peace keeper think that in order to have unity, you have to avoid talking about touchy subjects. They have been conditioned to believe that keeping things safe is best. Don’t take risks. Don’t change anything. Even if relationships are incredibly dysfunctional, they value connection so much they’d rather keep what is present that walk through awkward stages of growth.
Peace keepers want to stay in relationship so much that they avoid have any tough talks or walking through stages where the relationship could potentially go south. They fear losing someone more than they fear never growing.
So the question is, what change do you need to make today, to move from being a peace keeper to a peace maker?
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