Called to Be Peacemakers
Working for an organization that serves hurting children can be emotionally taxing at times. How can you not be affected by the cry of a child who has been abandoned? We deal regularly with children who have been scarred by abuse, malnourished due to extreme poverty, or mistreated in a variety of ways. We do it out of obedience to God’s Word which commands us to “Love one another.”
Sometimes we have to apply that command beyond the children we serve, especially when it comes to our relationships with each other and the organizations with whom we work. When inevitable conflicts arise, God calls us to be peacemakers, and the essence of making peace is to offer grace and forgiveness.
Within churches and Christian organizations, God desires His people to be unified and aligned because it glorifies Him and helps to make us successful as we serve Him. Unresolved conflict destroys unity, wastes time and resources, and lessens the impact of our mission. But peacemaking doesn’t just happen. It starts with leadership, and all of us are leaders—as parents, church members, employees, friends, and relatives.
Whether it’s your children, a Sunday school class, or a small business, the people you lead look to your example for direction and how to behave. The way you treat those who disagree with you gives you a wonderful opportunity to model God’s love for all people. They can see you as a person who loves God and wants to glorify Him by offering grace and peace in all situations, and by resolving conflicts with love and justice. When we demonstrate this gift of peacemaking outside of the family of faith, the world will see God and His kingdom.
At Bethany, we often work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as government entities that we don’t always agree with. Some of their policies or views may even be at odds with our Christian beliefs. That’s when we really need to put our peacekeeping skills to work. It would be easy to become judgmental or treat them differently than we would our fellow Christian organizations, but that would not honor Christ. By partnering with them, we not only increase our effectiveness in helping children, but we also give them a glimpse of Jesus.
Our Christian faith does not shield us from conflicts. Instead, it calls us to restore unity by forgiving others just as God has forgiven us.