My grievances belong to you (Peacemaking Part 2)

We are often selfish with our grievances and think that they are “ours,” failing to recognize the shared nature of Christian life.

Our grievances belong to each other for the upbuilding of the kingdom in mutual sacrificial love. When we share openly our grievances we can begin to build a community that shares life together in the openness Jesus intends. When we confront one another in love, we might find that the other person repents, and we are drawn together and must be reconciled. We’re often protecting the cracks in the foundation of this community because we feel that they are ours, but when we’re all guarding cracks in the foundation instead of repairing them, we’re going to end up losing the foundation altogether.

We think that most of our petty differences are just that, petty, but we fail to recognize that these so called petty differences have created oceans of dead space between us. We think that these little things should be overlooked but it’s not the case. We cannot afford to overlook one another’s sins because that endangers the nature of our peace. Without our own truthfulness about our grievances, we will not be able to manifest in our shared life Him who is the Truth.We are often afraid of appearing too easily offended, but time does not heal all wounds, were that the case, humans would evolve not repent into perfection.

Often, Jesus is working with a totally different set of assumptions about the nature of peacemaking than we are. Peacemaking for Jesus seems to involve conflict that leads to forgiveness The church is not a place without conflict it is a place where people are willing to bear with one another in patience. Peacemaking for us then is not so much defined by our lack of conflict but our commitment to remain brothers and sisters with one another through the conflicts we enter into. We can only do that with a love  that sets us together, in being baptized we committed ourselves to one another as much as to God.

Peacemaking is about the continual process of open repentance and forgiveness that draws us together in love. The question is not whether conflict can be eliminated in our circle, but can we face it as people shaped by the gospel’s view of forgiveness to the extent that it will draw us closer.

Making peace is an active discipline, and it’s our calling to do it with one another. Our grievances belong to one another, that’s what it means to bear one another’s burdens. And we have to call it a discipline because it is hard work. Turning the other cheek to make peace does not mean we will not be hit again, Jesus proves that with his 39 lashes, but it does mean we’re working with the grain of the Universe that God is calling our universe to be.

It does mean we’re living from that kingdom’s rules, into our world, it means that we’re establishing a foothold for the kingdom of God by being that community that shows the world an alternative to what it knows as peace. It means being a community so shaped by truth in love that we abound with the evidence that God is in our midst.

Christ is our peace by being our forgiveness, and without Him and His work of forgiving us in and with others who share in His Spirit, we will not look like Jesus. Without forgiveness, we cannot be called sons of god. The children that God has called are a people who are only such because of the forgiveness that abounds in and to them. Without the confrontation and repentance that makes forgiveness possible, we will never make the redeeming steps that turn our conflicts into forgiveness, that transfigure transgression into Beauty. (Ephesians 2:13-18 christ is our peace)

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