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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Let Peace Begin With Me

Memory is a strange thing. I can forget what I had for lunch two days ago but other strange bits of information from my childhood lodge in my brain just waiting for an event or for something someone says to dislodge them. For example, there is the Purple Cow poem I had to memorize when I was in the second grade. (I won't bore you with that rendition here.) More to the point, events over the last few months have dislodged the chorus to a song I learned for a recital in the sixth grade: Let There Be Peace on Earth.

I looked it up on line and found the entire song by Jill Jackson and Sy Miller in 1955:

Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on Earth,
the peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father,
brothers all are we,
Let me walk with my brother,
in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me,
let this be the moment now.
With every step I take,
let this be my solemn vow.

To take each moment and live each moment
in peace, eternally.
Let there be Peace on Earth,
and let it begin with me.

Think about the children you know. On the playground or in your home, do any of the children you know want to be the first to say "I'm sorry"? Often by the time an adult walks in to mediate, not only is the object of the fight at stake, but so is a good deal of pride. Why should I have to say "I'm sorry" first when she started it?

I am generally a fairly easy going person. But if something strikes me as wrong, unfair, or unjust a wall rises up in me. I may not get loud, but I do get intense. Over the last few months, some people have encouraged me to go back and make amends for some things. I'll admit, that has been a really hard thing to do. Partly, it is because I don't see some of the situations as entirely my fault. I've struggled with the same question as above. Why should I say "I'm sorry " first when he or she started it?

But scripture is clear in Romans 12:18 (NIV).
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Live at peace with everyone. In out tumultuous times, it seems like an impossibility on a global or national scale. But what about on an interpersonal scale. Did you catch it? Romans 12:18 doesn't promise there will be complete peace in our time. It says as far as it depend on you. No, I cannot make the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq go away, but I can clean up my personal life.

As I've worked on making amends here is what I've learned:
  • Throw fair out the window. If I worry about everything being fair I get all tied up.
  • I need to own my stuff. I can apologize for my part in the dispute.
  • Be humble enough to say "I'm sorry" first.
  • Do not worry about how the other person will respond.
The last one has been hard this past week. I made the appointment, did my apology, and we talked a bit. Overall, it was probably a pretty good meeting. But the thing that has wiggled in my brain is, "I said, 'I'm sorry' but he never did. He validated some feelings, but there was no 'I'm sorry.'" Honestly, that has rubbed me the wrong way.

But that is where I need to give the situation to God. I'm sure He smiled at my efforts, but if I am to move past the situation, I need to truly leave it with Him and not worry that I didn't hear those words. Ultimately the apology was about me make thing right on my end and leaving the other end to God.

So as far as I am able, I need to let peace begin with me.

When do you find it hard to say "I'm sorry"?

Do you let your children hear you apologize?

How would your life change if owned your stuff and apologize without the expectation of the other person doing the same?

God's Work In Progress,

This year I'm focusing on hope. I'd love for you to visit my personal blog:

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Blogger Denise said...

Such an awesome post, bless you.

March 6, 2009 at 1:26 AM  
Blogger Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Very good post and so true. It is funny that I read the post, today. My post is about forgiveness. I attended a retreat last weekend. Much of the topics were about forgiveness. The speaker said many of us are harboring hard feelings toward some people.. and they don't even know we are mad at them. We have to forgive them and move on. (Easier said than done, right?) Anyway, your whole thing about making peace, goes right along with that!!

Great job.

March 6, 2009 at 5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post and so true! I love the "apologize first." Not always easy but makes you feel so good.

March 6, 2009 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Great wisdom here Amy!
Peace begins with me....

March 6, 2009 at 3:28 PM  
Blogger Today's Christian Mom~ said...

I loved this. I am glad to have found your blog.

March 6, 2009 at 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am not afraid to apologize first, though that hasn't always been the case.

Not only do i let my children hear me, i often say it TO them when i've lost my temper at them. We also have them apologize to each other and to God when they get into a fight.

It isn't easy, but necessary! Thanks for your post!

March 8, 2009 at 9:07 PM  

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