Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blogging God's Promises (8)

What a morning at Calvary Memorial, seizing God's promise of peace (Romans 5:1; 12:18). At one point, I asked the congregation(s) to self-test on two areas of creativity, on a scale of 1 to 10 (-1 means no skill, 5 average skill, and 10 maximum skill).

The first test relates to "peace-wrecking." Where do we place ourselves on this scale? Here average skill is well-developed since most are naturally gifted, with so many techniques for falling out with people, taking umbrage, misunderstanding, being jealous...and otherwise creating bad chemistry. Frankly, we can do it with our eyes shut. We don't even need to say or do anything - just subtle body language can create hostility. So, if you are at a 6 or a 7 you really are proficient! I remember being asked to visit a lady and being warned: "She's not easy to get on with." Well, that was an understatement. Her very first sentence was lethally subversive, adroitly agitating my spirit and firing up hostility. She was utterly brilliant. I was dazzled by her imagination, creativity and sheer energy. I rated her at least a 9! Definitely at jedi knight proficiency. A black belt. Mensa class.

The second test concerns "peace-making." Here skill levels are far less developed. In fact the average ability is very low. So to be average is really very poor, with low amounts of imagination, creativity and sheer energy. Of course, the two belong together. The higher you are on the peace-wrecking scale, inevitably the poorer you are as peace-maker!

Well, we had some fun. But the implications are devastatingly serious. If we claim Romans 5:1 "Therefore, since we have been justified by through, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ," then we, of all people, should know the cost of Jesus' sacrifice to reconcile us to God, and heed his command to be peace-makers. If God's people don't cope with conflict with above average peace-making skills (by His Spirit), what hope is there? Every little bit of indulgent peace-wrecking sabotages God's peace. Every moment of peace-making counts. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Rom 12;18) I heard sober stories this morning of people who know that peace-making is a priority this week. And I want to develop more imagination, creativity and trust in God's energy for better peace-making too. What about you?


Chris Jones said...

Peace-braking as an innate skill is a real truth. For me it is like the no-look pass in basketball. I can wreck the peace with out thinking about it and often without realizing it. It is subconscious at best and guiltily deliberate at worst. The problem is that it can be a sin of omission. If we aren't focusing on peace-making we can affect someone painfully with what we say or do and hardly notice.

Leslie said...

Dr. Quicke,
Thanks for your message yesterday. It really hit home for me, as I am dealing with my mother who does not have God's peace in her life. She is also facing medical issues right now. I want to be able to use this time in her life to communicate God's love and peace to her. Would you be able to post the scripture we read yesterday--I wasn't able to write them all down fast enough!
Thanks so much, Leslie

Michael Pugh said...

Yes! Better peacemaking is what I'm thinking about this week too.

But I'm glad you wrote about healthy conflict in an earlier post, because conflict is part of a healthy relationship. In fact, a recent University of Michigan study found that fighting with your spouse can make you live longer!

Michael Pugh said...

Here's the link to that U of M study:

MichaelQuicke said...

Leslie -
The main Scriptures last week were:
Rom. 5:1-11;12:17-21 with ref to Roms:1:18,21;2:5,16. Other promises: Isa 26:3, Luke 2:14,Col 3:15, Matt 5:9,Heb:13:20. Hope this helps.
What an interesting story. Thanks for the link. As I think about the temperamental differences between these 192 couples, it underlines care needed when talking about anxiety next week. We are so different from each other!

Anonymous said...

After the message on peacemaking God reminded me of my "complaint" that our inner conversation was inactive lately. In His quiet but discernable way, He reminded me of two people I needed to forgive--one who had hurt my child (with no regret or remedy) and another who defended the first! My prayer of forgiveness was really hard. Then yesterday I was prompted while thinking of another "opponent" that I needed to forgive--again not easy.