peace is a choice (2)

I mentioned in my post, "peace is a choice" that I'd share more from MCC as they explore how we may "choose peace and live out new hope in the name of Christ." Here's this month's thoughts:

Listen with care...let your listening change you.

If you are in conflict with someone, one of the most important things you can do is listen - really listen - to the other person. Listening means putting aside your own agenda and trying to see the situation through the other person's eyes. It is like getting into the other person's shoes. Compassionate, active listening can calm someone who is very angry and potentially violent. It can break down barriers and build trust. It can provide a step toward healing and reconciliation. As you listen to someone else, that person will be changed. And so will you.

"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." (Desmond Tutu)

So often we think of Christian peacemaking as a topic related to violence on a large scale - e.g. war. This quote, however, highlights how violence - in many forms, not just physical - can be an everyday reality we face. Recognizing this everyday aspect to peacemaking can make the call to follow Jesus' way of peace relevant to our lives as opposed to simply remaining a theological approach to war.

So in the realm of following Jesus in everyday life, this quote raises several questions for me:

-How much of our day is spent listening to others?
-Do we live in such a competitive culture that this type of listening opposes the aggressiveness required to "get ahead" in life?
-Can the peace of Christ be a reality in the face of all the small conflicts we face day to day?
-Am I really willing to "put aside my agenda" to understand others?
-How to I seek peace without being a "doormat" to others?
-How does listening relate to our conflicts in local churches, denominations, or even the global Christian community?


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