Last week I asked you to consider whether or not you area peacemaker in your home. We are going to dwell on this theme of being peacemakers for a few days, because family life is not the only potential battlefield.
Remember that Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
We are called to do our part to maintain peaceful relationships.
One area where you might find this principle difficult to apply is in your relationships with friends. There’s just something about female friendships, especially during middle school and high school, that often leads to conflict. Even so, Jesus instructs us to be peacemakers. That means doing what we can to get along with the people around us, including our friends.
Are you a peacemaker with your friends? Here are a few questions to think through as you consider your answer.
- Does it seem like you are always in a fight with at least one of your friends?
- Do you bring it to their attention when your friends upset you, even if it is something small?
- Do you frequently find yourself in the middle of fights between your friends?
- Do you need to apologize to your friends often for losing your temper or speaking unkindly?
- Have you had several friendships end completely?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably have some work to do on the peacemaker front. Make a conscious effort to do all that you can to live at peace with your friends. That includes asking for forgiveness, forgiving past offenses, learning to let some things go, and working on your communication so that less conflict is created.
As Christians, we should strive to have peaceful friendships. But that is only half of the equation. When it comes to friendship, there is a difference between being a peacemaker and keeping the peace at all costs. When assessing how well you’re doing on the peacemaker front, it is important to consider whether or not you have any toxic friendships.
Here are a few questions to think through as you consider whether or not your friendships are toxic.
- Do you have a friendship where you cannot keep the peace no matter how hard you try?
- Do you constantly “walk on eggshells” around a certain friend because you never know what will make her upset?
- Are you frequently asked to choose sides in fights between your friends?
- Do you show signs of emotional distress such as depression, difficulty eating or sleeping, or anxiety attacks as a result of conflict within your friendships?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you likely have some toxic relationships. When Jesus asked us to be peacemakers, I don’t think He was encouraging us to maintain friendships that are bad for us.I think that Scripture allows room for us to gracefully exit those friendships where prolonged peace is impossible.
In fact, ending a friendship actually provides a unique opportunity to be a peacemaker. There doesn’t need to be a big fight where you officially end the friendship. You don’t need to call your toxic friend out on all that makes her a bad friend. Simply give the relationship some space. Pray for your friend, and ask God for opportunities to show her His love. When a potential fight erupts, simply offer a word of encouragement and walk away.
There are some battles that don’t need to continue to be fought. Sometimes peace comes when we simply choose to give a friendship some space.
Where are you on the peacemaker continuum? Do you need to work harder to minimize fighting in your friendships or is there a relationship you need to walk away from in order to maintain peace?
Leave us a comment to tell us about it, and be sure to hop back on the blog tomorrow for one more post about being a peacemaker.