Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they will be called children of God.”
As one of the seniors and a leader in my youth group, I am often put in charge of groups of people younger than me. It’s usually nothing too formal, but my youth director knows he can count on me to keep everyone working and at least mostly focused on the job we are doing. Sometimes, like in the case of a few Sundays ago, I have to do a little more than gently redirect a middle schooler’s attention to a task.
Here’s the scene: Two middle schoolers, my junior friend and I were working on writing Christmas cards for a local nursing home. As we worked, the two younger girls began discussing a third sixth grader behind her back, criticizing her harshly for something she had said. My friend and I looked at each other across the table in surprise. Finally it got to the point where I couldn’t keep from saying anything, so I gently tried to point out how they would feel if someone was saying these things about them.
Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. They argued with me and my friend for a minute, not understanding why we would even bother saying anything. The discussion even began to get a bit heated as they got defensive. But eventually they calmed down and saw our point. Confrontation, no matter who with, is always difficult in one way or another. It is easy for people to become defensive, to feel attacked by the other person’s accusations, and feelings can get easily hurt. However, sometimes confrontation is impossible to avoid. In that case, the ability to speak calmly and gently is the most valuable skill in a peacemaker’s toolkit.