(Photo Credit: Casey Horner)
Something in my makeup compels me to stand up for what is right. Time has taught me, however, that what I think is right in one period may not look the same one year or ten down the road. And when I later reflect back on a conflict, my sin may stand out more obviously than that of my “opponent.” I need to learn how to be an instrument of peace.
Usually, there are two sides to a conflict. It is only by letting go of mine that I can observe and experience the other. It is only when I’m willing to release my grip that I can learn and grow. Then, wonder of wonders, I may find I’ve budged from my position, or at least I’m able to see from my counterpart’s perspective. And hopefully with love.
There is a time to release our hearts into the Shepherd’s hands, trusting Him with every part. There is a time to free a problem—person—to the Shepherd’s leading, leaning not on our own understanding but into His. And He will make straight our paths.
Occasionally, there is only one side to a conflict, but when I’m right, many words may seem more like a torrent than a river of life. Still, I have a tendency to overwater my relationships like I do my plants. I’m trying to learn that I don’t have to take responsibility for everything all the time. It’s okay to sit back and let the silence grow. When my mouth is closed, my ears are open—to letting go, learning, and loving. Moreover, my holding back may inspire my friend to step forward. Then, after a period of dryness, a gentle rain is particularly welcome.
There is a time to still our tongues so that in the growing silence, our partner can hear the Gentle Whisper. Then, when His soft rains fall on thirsty ground, our seeds of peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Sometimes, there is no easy solution. Resolution is like a distant mountain peak, and the climb fatigues us. As my sister and I have learned on our hiking trips, there is no shame in taking breaks. In fact, resting and refueling are vital if we’re going to finish. More importantly—especially for someone who struggles to enjoy the process, breaks remind me, while looking back and ahead, to breathe in the beauty of our Creator.
There is a time to stop and breathe and praise the Rock. Look how far He’s brought us and from where! Perceive how the ascent ahead is clothed in beauty, and celebrate the victory yet to come!
“He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.”
Melissa K. Smith has lived and worked in China for 20 years. She runs Li Ai Education Consulting Company. In Chinese, “li ai” means “establish love” which is exactly what Li Ai Education attempts to do through its teacher training and community service projects. Melissa also facilitates Master Teaching, a blog for teachers who follow the Master Teacher.