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  • Shawn Thornton

Peacemaker or Troublemaker

Thursday - August 27th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Romans 12:9-16

Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 7:13-20


Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited

Romans 12:16

With three young adult kids in their 20's, Lesli and I find ourselves far removed from the days of running from one soccer game to the next. Been there, done that. In many ways, we miss those early Saturday starts that generally took us to at least two games and used up the better part of the day. Often there was not enough time between games to run home and get ready for the next game. Many Saturdays, we had to coordinate transportation with other parents who might have kids on the same teams or at least had a game at the same field we needed to get to next.

Some of you may be in that stage of parenting. COVID has probably put all of the youth sports on hold. You can identify with the high level of coordination needed to get your children from one game or practice to another. As parents, we would not change the nature of youth sports. We love seeing our kids engaged in healthy competition with others. We love sitting with other parents celebrating our kids together.

But, let's be honest, running around in a minivan all day on Saturday going from one soccer field to another is not the most peaceful experience. Kids get tired and cranky. Parents get tired and cranky. Juice boxes end up spilled all over the seats. Soccer cleats drag mud and grass into the minivan and even our homes. Siblings squabble, and parents whine. Looking back to the time that all three of our kids, Jon, Katie, and Megan, were playing youth soccer, Saturdays were anything but peaceful. Fun? Yes. Peaceful. No.

Soccer games Saturdays with three kids playing on three different teams could easily be a metaphor for life itself. Certain aspects of the day are planned and intentional. Other aspects are chaotic and stressful. Some of the variables you deal with, you control as a parent. Some variables seem to be out of the control of everyone. Life can be anything but peaceful in the midst of us doing what we have chosen to do.

In the middle of the ups and downs, the wins and losses, and the twists and turns, life can be better based on what we bring to it. On soccer Saturdays, I knew certain parents or coaches could create unrest and drama. I also knew others would be a calming yet fun presence. The same thing is true in life. Some people add noise and complexity. Others defuse tension and bring down the volume.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to live in unity with each other. We are called to set aside our difference and to unite around Jesus and His Gospel. The world should not see the family of God in constant conflict and tension. The New Testament has various "One Another" commands related to how we live in peace and harmony with each other. Don't think of some "Kumbaya" existence that denies the realities around us while we chant with our legs crossed in a yoga position.

As we love one another, forgive one another, serve one another, pray for each other, and put others' interests ahead of our own, we seek to live in harmony and peace together. Romans 12:16 suggests that we must be humble and others-oriented to achieve this kind of peace and harmony within the family of God. "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." Jesus communicated the same clarity and simplicity in Mark 9:50 when he said, "Be at peace with one another."

Are you the kind of person that adds peace or agitation when you enter a room? Do other Christians avoid discussing anything with you because they always end a conversation with you with greater tension and an unsettled spirit? Then, memorize Romans 12:16. Let it settle into your heart and mind. Aim to be a peacemaker rather than a troublemaker. If you are not sure if you are more of a peacemaker or a troublemaker to other followers of Christ, ask some of them. Ask them to be honest but kind.

Today, find ways to bring harmony and peace to others. This "One Another" command is vital for the church.


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