Sunday, October 18, 2009

oh, to be a peacemaker

Have you ever wondered why some people just clash with you? When you see that person perhaps you avoid them, or perhaps you often find yourself offended with them? Well that person for me can be my mom.

She is miss personality! She is very fun, social and outgoing with the gift of administration (telling others what to do in order to accomplish a bigger goal). I am thoughtful, and can be of the introverted persuasion. I like my space and am somewhat independent, as in I like to work alone a lot of times.

Often times, my dad and brother can serve as a peaceful presence and may take away from any tension, but for two weeks in the Philippines just recently, it was just her and I. We ate together, we slept in the same hotel room together, we spent our "down time" together, and because it's unsafe to be alone in a foreign place, we went everywhere together. Either we were going to have a trip full of little tensions here or there, or we were going to have to settle our issues for real in order to have peace.

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Here are some failed attempts at peacemaking:

While eating breakfast, I noticed at the buffet some "garlic rice". "Hm, that looks interesting," I thought. And began to put some on my plate. My mom then comes along and says, "That's garlic rice." "Yes, I know it's garlic rice," I said in return. Didn't she know that I could read for myself?

Later, as we began eating, she looked at me and asked if I would like some salt. My reply was, "If I want some salt, I will get it."

Can you tell that I was getting it all wrong? Grr. Points earned for the outer man. What is it that made me so irritated by her questions?

My mom is the sort of person that if she senses an offence, she won't rest until it's settled. As annoying as this is at times, especially when I, for instance, just want to ignore that there is any tension and forget about the whole thing, but know deep down that for the sake having true peace instead of passive aggression, this is the right thing.

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."
Matthew 18:15

So, we talked about it right at our breakfast table. She asked me why I was being short with her when she was trying to be nice to me. Be nice to me? Is that was she was trying to do? I was under the impression that she must think me ditsy or incapable of taking care of myself, and I told her such. "No," she said, "I didn't think that. I just thought how likely it would be for me to make an honest mistake by getting the wrong thing. Plus you've been feeling kind of sick lately, so I didn't know if you would like to eat that strong garlic. And when someone offers you salt you should simply say, "No thank-you", not "I'll get it if I want it.""

By this time I felt like the brat I had been acting like. She was right. I had been rude when she was trying to be thoughtful! I had it all wrong. But if I would have kept in mind the command of my Lord to,

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exodus 20:12

I would not have dared to be so disrespectful to her. The only way I can talk about it now without the uttermost shame is because forgiveness has been asked and given by both parties, and a purpose to not be so foolish again on my part has been made.

Let's recap the story: 1) I was so quick to judge as to what her intentions were by the look of her actions, when really I had no idea and could have no idea of what she was thinking. 2) I was rude and unladylike; a bad representation of the daughter of a king. 3) I spoke without thinking.

What can we learn? 1) Don't be so quick to judge the motives of others. 2) Think before you open your mouth. 3) If you can't say anything nice... you know the rest! 4) Honor your father and mother, even if you are technically an "adult". 5)It's good to talk out offences and ask for forgiveness so that reconciliation can happen. 6) We should learn from our mistakes and move on with the intention of not doing them again.

My mom, though we clash sometimes, and mostly because of personality differences (she is a san-chlore and I'm mostly melancholy), I value almost more than anybody. If I want a true observation, I go to her. If I'm stumped for ideas, she's the one I ask. If I need help with anything, she is there. And I know, without a doubt, that her love is unconditional, and because of that I can tell her anything. And perhaps that's how I'm able to be so careless with my words and actions towards her. How ridiculous is that? For one of the people I love the most I would treat so?

It makes me think about my God. How often to I take what He does for me for granted? Or push His guidance aside? And even if I act like a 2-yr-old, He still loves me and is ever-so patient? It blows my mind.

Ever-striving to cultivate authentic beauty,


I love this woman!


Elena said...

Thanks for sharing!
I know I struggle with this also, and not only with my Mom! I tend to be on the more emotional, don't talk about my feelings type; most of the time too much. I'm learning to share my thoughts and be more open about what I am thinking.

I love what you said about honoring your parents, even when you are an "adult". Too often I hear about girls our age who think Exodus 20:12 doesn't apply to them, or at least not as much as it did when they were ten.

I love your honesty and sincerity; it's very much appreciated!

Leah said...

Amen!! That was AMAZING!! It's almost like you looked right into my life and describe me! I understand exactly what you're going through. Also, I struggle with being short with people myself. I think I am a lot like you, I like to think a lot, but I act quickly and generally I don't think before I speak. I like to be by myself and I am independent as well. I have a hard time honoring my parents as I should because sometimes they just down right annoy me. The verses you shared are ones that I was actually thinking of while I was reading your post. So thank you for posting this!!! It has TRULY encouraged me today, and don't forgot that... "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 1:6) He is always working in us, even when we feel like we're failing.

Grace and PEACE to you from our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Christ Alone,

Rachel said...

Thanks so much for the post! It sounds exactly like me and my Mom. It was just what I needed to hear! Thank you!

Traci Michele said...


Thank you so much for this honest, and fruitful post! I say fruitful, because you shared your faults, told about God's solution, and then expressed the beauty of restoration and peace! God Bless you! Looked like you had a great trip. I'll be waiting for an update about the "mission".


Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Came over from Traci's blog, it is so nice to meet you!

I love this post so very much- I have a difficult relationship with my parents and have really been striving to love them and forgive them in Christ. I love the reminder that I need to take a step back and not assume what they are saying or thinking, and give them a little grace. I need to learn from them, not always expect them to fail because of past mistakes.

Thank you for blessing me today!


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