April 12

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Proverbs 15:1

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  Matthew 5:9

People get in our way, slow us down.  People with opinions and beliefs different from our own are wrong, just plain stupid.  People from cultures we don’t try to understand aren’t to be trusted.  And we say so.  The human urge to lash out when someone “crosses” us seems inborn.  We use our tongues (snide remarks), our faces (the glare), our hands to lay on the horn – or “gesture”.  The tendency is as old as history – ancient cultures where vengeance is still expected, to defending one’s honor in a “righteous” duel.  Twitter has become a modern weapon of choice.  Harsh words stir up anger – tit for tat. 

Sticks and stones may break bones, but words also hurt.  Our Lenten theme is “Listen”.  We have been reminded to listen respectfully even when we disagree, and to forgive even when it doesn’t seem logical.  We should hear and consider the experiences and circumstances of others, often different from our own.  Bitterness eats away at and destroys the spirit of the bearer of such grudges. 

We must live as peacemakers if we claim to be children of God.  Paul called us ambassadors for Christ.  Ambassadors for Christ would not respond rudely or bear a grudge.  Martin Luther explains we are to “speak well of [our neighbor] and put the best construction on everything.”  We cannot negotiate world peace but we can make peace in our place in the world – workplace, school, community, home.  Our human nature will not easily navigate the path of peace.  We ask God to help us.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there is hatred let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon …..”  Amen                                                                                                                                              (Prayer of St. Francis)

Verla Olson