7 Steps to More Peace in Your Family This Christmas
How do you keep family dysfunction from ruining your Christmas? What decisions can you make to bring peace into your holiday celebration this year? Are you willing to become a peacemaker?
Matt. 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
This Christmas season commit to becoming an agent of reconciliation in a world filled with conflict. Become a bridge builder not a wall builder. Here are 7 steps.
If I want to be a peacemaker…
1. I MAKE THE FIRST MOVE
We make the first move. We don’t wait on somebody else. We take the initiative.
Matt 5:23-24 So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
How many of you have ever had an argument with somebody on the way to church in the car? The Bible says it would actually be better for us to sit in the car and work out that disagreement than for us to come in to church. It’s that important. Reconciliation takes priority.
You make the first move. Don’t wait.
Here’s the second step:
2. I ASK GOD FOR WISDOM
The Bible says in James 1 that if we ask God for wisdom God will give it to us.
James 1:5. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
So the first thing we do is we make the decision, “I’m not going to go along with this unresolved anymore. I’m going to take the first step. I’m not going to wait on them.” Then I say, “God I really need your help. Give me wisdom and the right words to say.”
3. I BEGIN WITH WHAT'S MY FAULT
We don’t start with what they’ve done wrong. We don’t start with a bunch of accusations. We’ll get to that.
The conflict may be 90 percent their fault. But, we can find something to confess. We can find something that was our mistake, even if it was our poor response, maybe even in our defensiveness. And instead of accusing, attacking and blaming, I first look at what’s going on inside me. Pray the prayer, “Lord search my heart.”
James 4:1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?
The conflict that you’re having with other people is inside of you. It actually starts in you. When I’m at peace inside, what’s outside doesn’t upset me as much. You just do an honest evaluation. What are my blind spots? Then once you’ve done that, you confess your part in the problem.
4. I LISTEN FOR THEIR HURT & PERSPECTIVE
I listen for their hurt and their perspective.
How many times have you heard me say, “hurt people hurt people?”
The people who need love the most are those who deserve it the least. The people who are most obnoxious and irritating and you don’t want to be around them, those are people who need massive doses of love. Hurt people hurt people.
If you want to connect with people you must start with their needs, their hurts and their interests.
James 1:19 “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
If we are quick to listen and we are slow to speak we will be slow to get angry. God gave us two ears and one mouth. We should always listen twice as much as you speak.
5. I SPEAK THE TRUTH TACTFULLY!
Speak the truth tactfully. The truth sets us free, but we’ve got to say it with love. We’ve got to say it with kindness. We’ve got to say it with tact.
Many people proudly say, “I just tell it like it is!” That’s called being rude. Don’t be proud of that.
Ephesians 4:15 “Speak the truth in love.”
The truth is not enough. It’s not just what we say; it’s how we say it. If we say it offensively it will be received defensively. Truth without love is resisted. Truth with love is received.
Ephesians 4:29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
That’s one of the greatest verses on parenting we can ever learn. Or marriage or friendship. Don’t use harmful words.
6. I FIX THE PROBLEM, NOT THE BLAME
This is the sixth key to resolving conflict and restoring relationships. Fix the problem not the blame. We need to learn to attack the issue, not each other.
The blame game is a waste of time.
Stop fixing the blame and start fixing the problem. You got a problem with finances in your marriage? You got a problem with your in-laws? Stop fixing the blame and start fixing the problem.
Finally, the seventh step is…
7. I FOCUS ON RECONCILIATION, NOT RESOLUTION.
There’s a big difference. Reconciliation means reestablishing the relationship. We’ve buried the hatchet. It doesn’t mean you’ll remarry if it’s with an ex, it just means we’re at peace with each other.
I’m not holding onto any hurt, you’re not holding on to any hurt; we’ve buried the hatchet. Reconciliation.
Resolution means we resolve every disagreement. And that isn’t going to happen. Because the truth is, there are some things in our marriage, our families and our friendships with other people, that we’re just never going to agree on, because we’re all different.
But we can disagree without being disagreeable. That’s called maturity. That’s called wisdom. We can walk hand in hand together without seeing eye to eye.
If you focus on restoring your relationship, oftentimes the issue becomes insignificant