This is post #26 of a series entitled Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace. We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here you’ll find very practical and biblically-sound advice on building bridges instead of walls, offering hope instead of despair. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Click on the link below to listen to the podcast version of this blog!
Truth #9: Peacemakers Embrace Our Role as Facilitators in God’s Circle of Peace.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him. In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of His body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. Romans 12: 3-5 MsgB
As we’ve been discussing thus far, the work of Christ-centered peacemaking belongs to God, our Creator/King, His Son Jesus of Nazareth, and the Holy Spirit. True peacemaking is only accomplished by the hand of God, which leaves you and me as simple facilitators, working out of God’s Circle of Peace, co-working with Christ on God’s behalf. Once this issue of ownership is settled, now you and I can settle into our role, addressing the core issues that will determine the way we can best perform this work of being facilitators of God’s peace.
So, this week, as we come closer to the end with this series, I’m going to introduce to you my Ten Commandments For Facilitators in God’s Circle of Peace. Ten basic ingredients that make a recipe for success when stepping into this important role of peacemaker for the cause of Christ. Today, we’ll start with the first three:
Commandment I: Know who you are, what you believe & where you are called.
It’s vitally important to remember, when co-working with the Holy God of the Universe, on behalf of His work of peace on planet earth, that integrity matters; character counts. Quite simply, there is little wiggle room here. So, it’s vital for us to have a truthful self-awareness of ourselves; knowing our good, our bad, and our ugly.
As we discussed in an earlier session (see tool #1), you might begin your journey into Christ-centered self-awareness by using a helpful personality tool called the Enneagram. As I’ve worked with it over the last eight years, I’ve found the tool to be very helpful in identifying who I truly am and who Jesus is calling me to be. I’d also strongly suggest working with a Christ-centered spiritual director who can lead you into healthy conversations concerning what you truly believe about God, yourself, and the world around you (see tool #13), discerning along the way the ‘where’ and the ‘to whom’ you are called as peacemaker.
My friend, the late Rick Love, for example, knew with a certainty that the majority of his time, energy and resources were to be spent on restoring broken relationships between his Christian friends and Muslim friends. Not an easy task, to say the least, but because Rick had a good handle on who he was, what he believed, and who he was called to serve, God used him mightily in that arena for many years.
One final thought here. When trying to discern where you are called as a peacemaker, I’d suggest starting with this one question.
“Who do I love?”
You see, when love is the primary motivator behind your peacemaking actions, God’s authority goes with you. I had a good friend who said it this way, “Marty, you will only have authority with those you love.” Makes sense, right? In other words, go forward out of your love and you’ll most likely be choosing the right place in beginning your work of Christ-centered peacemaking.
Commandment II: Keep your circle of non-negotiables small.
As a peacemaker for the cause of Christ, It’s always important to have a set of core truths; non-negotiables that will not change despite the setting you find yourself in. Most Christians I know do have an inner set of core beliefs that address important truths of the Christian faith, (i.e. Who is God? What is the Bible? Who is Jesus?), but sadly many have allowed their circle of non-negotiables to become way too crowded, cramming it with pet doctrines and strong opinions. And, quite honestly, when our set of non-negotiables/essentials is large and cumbersome, it makes it all that much harder for us to step into small spaces, where the seeds of God’s peace can be planted.
My good friend, Steve Sjogren says it this way:
‘Essentials’ are a very small circle of vital, life-giving Kingdom-basics, rock-bottom biblical truths, that we bridge-builders must never compromise on as we work hard to stretch our lives and faith toward others from a variety of backgrounds. ‘Traditions’ compose a much larger circle of beliefs. Generally, ‘Traditions’ are the many practices we Christians have determined are important as we live out our faith in Christ. It’s in this circle we find the rich diversity that makes up the denominational differences found in the larger church of Jesus Christ. Finally, ‘Opinions’ are just that. And since they compose the largest circle of thought by far, ‘Opinions’ will be abundant at every turn in church life. Unfortunately, the church becomes quite divided and often, weakened, when we confuse ‘Traditions’ with ‘Essentials’. Worse yet, Christians often take ‘Opinions’ and allow them to divide us from other brothers and sisters in Christ, leaving us to go it alone in our faith journey in life.
So, I’d suggest that you whittle your core essentials down to a choice handful of truths. Non-negotiables that won’t change regardless of the situation you find yourself in. Click here to see my list.
Commandment III: Ask for God’s gift of holy indifference.
As a peacemaker for the cause of Christ, I will be called to build bridges with people who view God, themselves, and their world much differently than I do. Sometimes, those differences will be so vast, it will seem humanly impossible to find a common bond on which the foundation of peace can be built. But as I see it, this is where St. Ignatius’ concept of holy indifference comes in.
Now, don’t misunderstand. Holy Indifference does not mean having a milk-toast attitude toward truth, a sloppy approach to right or wrong, nor does it require a what-ever-may-be-may-be, Pollyannaish approach to life. Holy indifference is more of a pro-active attitude found in the Apostle Paul, when he said…
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him (Christ) who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 11-13 (NIV)
Holy Indifference insists that I hold tightly to Jesus, and Jesus alone, trusting Him unswervingly for all aspects of my life, yet at the same time, it allows me to be indifferent to all lesser things around me. A good example, again, is my friend, Rick Love, who knew as a dedicated follower of Christ, that he was 1) called as a peacemaker between Christians and Muslims; 2) called to work alongside men and women who will view God differently than he did, and 3) called to be indifferent to these differences as he focused, as a peacemaker, on Jesus’ ability to soften hearts as he worked to find common ground, building bridges of peace for the greater glory of God.
As I see it, these first three of my Ten Commandments for Facilitators in God’s Circle of Peace…
I. Know who you are, what you believe & where you are called.
II. Keep your circle of non-negotiables small.
III. Ask for God’s gift of holy indifference.
…will allow us to step boldly into all kinds of wild-n-wooly places, with full confidence in what Jesus said…
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19: 26 (NIV)
My Prayer: Father God, as I prepare myself to go out into my world, serving you in the realm of Christ-centered peacemaking, keep me fully aware of the essentials. May Christ always be my firm foundation in all things. May my view of self always reflect how You see me. May I never forget that God is Love and that in all things, the gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love will never die. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me with Holy Indifference, where the prayer of St. Ignatius becomes my prayer:
Make me indifferent to all created things as much as I am able, so that I do not necessarily want health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short life, so that I may ultimately desire and choose only what is most conducive for me to the end for which God created me. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Questions to Ponder: St. Augustine said, “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, diversity; in all things, charity.”
As I prepare myself to go out into this vastly diverse world, serving Christ as a peacemaker for God’s glory, have I determined what my essentials are? Am I clear when it comes to who God is, who Christ is, and to what and to who Jesus is calling me? Am I certain of my role as a Christ-centered peacemaker, and am I clear on my non-negotiables? Is there a growing holy difference when it comes to having diversity and charity in the non-essentials?
*This is the fifteenth in a variety of practical suggestions/resources we will make throughout this blog/podcast series. We call these exercises:
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 9 (NIV)
Tool #15: Determining Your Non-Negotiables.
Might I suggest you prayerfully assemble your list of non-negotiables, your essentials to what you believe about God, yourself and your world. Click here for my list.
So, how are you experiencing God’s presence as you are becoming a peacemaker for the cause of Christ?
Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace.
We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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