Becoming a Peacemaker
If Jesus Christ was a conman, colour me conned. Why? Because I draw a lot of inspiration from His teachings. I especially love reading the account of His life and preachings as narrated in the Book of Matthew. And I must say that I find His teachings as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago.
Among the teachings of Jesus that I strive to implement in my life include praying to God privately, not worrying about tomorrow and making myself fruitful by practising what the Word of God says in my day-to-day living. And every morning after waking up, I usually recite the Lord's Prayer as Christ taught us.
Recently, after witnessing a couple quarrel with each other for more than a year, I have found myself remembering the following beatitude as recorded in Matthew 5:9:
That beatitude has inspired me to continue trying to mediate peace between the couple I have told you about, whose identity I would like to keep confidential. It galls me to see the couple bicker with each other like little children, more so because they are part of my family. My greatest wish is for them to live in harmony after more than thirty-eight years of marriage.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
I have observed that of the two, the wife seems to be the one on the wrong side because she is always engaging in fault-finding and neglecting the simple acts of kindness and courtesy that make a relationship successful. She is always getting suspicious that her husband is having extra-marital affairs. Sometimes she gets so angry at him that she throws things around the house as a way of expressing her anger. Last Sunday, she threw a cup on the floor in a fit of rage. The cup broke into several pieces.
The husband, on the other hand, is always humble, helpful and understanding. He is always washing his wife's clothes because she has been suffering from stroke. And he is always treating her kindly which makes me wonder why the wife is mad at him. If it weren't for the husband's humility and understanding, the couple would have split up over a year ago.
Over the last one year since they began quarrelling, I have sat down with the wife on several occasions and reasoned things out with her. Like I have mentioned to her how her husband is ever helpful. I have also cajoled her to be grateful for her blessings and recited to her verses from the Bible such as Proverbs 21:19 which says "better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife." But it's like I am always talking to a stone because the wife has still been giving her husband a hard time with her never-ending arguments and suspicions.
I have now given up lecturing the wife. In addition to praying that she becomes peaceful and understanding, I will now strive to understand her and the way she sees the world. Ha! That reminds me of the following passage I came across in an SAT revision book when I was studying for the SAT exams in 2007:
The ability to see the situation as your opponent sees it, as difficult as it may be, is one of the most important skills that you can possess as a [peacemaker]. You must know more than simply that they see things differently. It is not enough to study them like beetles under a microscope. You need to know what it feels like to be a beetle. To accomplish this, you should be prepared to withhold judgement as you "try on" their views. Your opponents may well believe that their views are right as strongly as you believe yours are.Yes, I will strive to understand the wife and how she sees the world. And when she becomes angry, I will use my insight and understanding of her to make peace between the couple - not for any reward but because it is the right thing to do. Didn't I tell you about the beatitude that says "blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God"?
My dear reader, I beseech you to also be a peacemaker in your home and workplace. Where there is conflict, sow peace. And where there is hatred, sow love. It is the way God wants us to live.
FEEDBACK: Would you be so kind as to offer your feedback on the stories I post in this blog? Just click on the "Feedback" link on the menu at the top of this blog and share your thoughts with me. Thanks in advance for your comments.
Sharing is CaringLike this story? Then share it on:
Donating = LovingIt takes so much time to research, write and edit the stories and videos in this blog. If you do find any joy in reading them, please consider supporting the author with a donation of any amount - anything from buying him a cup of hot tea to treating him for a good dinner. Thanks to everyone who is contributing; you rock!
Laughing Like a Little Child
Ever heard the one about the doctor who gave his patient six months to live because she had terminal cancer? And when the patient couldn't pay her hospital bill, the doctor gave her six more months.
Go ahead and laugh at that joke. People more knowledgeable than me say laughing promotes good health and speeds healing. In his highly enlightening book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey writes that laughter:
- loosens up the mental gears and helps us to think more creatively
- helps us cope with the difficulties of life
- reduces stress levels
- relaxes us as it lowers our heart rate and blood pressure
- connects us with others and counteracts feelings of alienation, a major contributor in depression and suicide
- releases endorphins, the brain's natural painkillers
Then there was a time in 2007 I burst out laughing during a choir practice at All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi after a fellow chorister reminded me of a friend of mine called Gathigi who sometimes would doze as we listened to classical music back in the '90s. I really laughed and I loved it.
And then there was another time in 2015 I enjoyed laughing at a joke cracked by a fellow teacher at Rose of Sharon Academy in Nairobi where I was teaching piano and music theory. Well, I found the teacher using a phone we call "mulika mwizi" (light on the thief) here in Kenya because it has only basic accessories and a torch that can show who a thief is by lighting on him in darkness. When I mentioned to the teacher that his was a "mulika mwizi" phone, he shot back, "No, this is a 'mulika magaidi' (light on the terrorists) phone. It is more powerful!" That joke made me convulse with laughter. And I enjoyed laughing.
As I have said, it has been a while since I last had a good hearty laugh because of some problems we have been having here at home. Today, I have prayed that God may help me laugh again frequently like a child. Why like a child? Because I have heard it said that children are constantly happy. According to one blogger called Zeenat who runs a website called Positive Provocations, little four-year old children:
- believe in magic, in imagination, in fairy tales.
- never get bored. They can entertain themselves anywhere (even in the loo!)
- have no regard for money, gizmos, gadgets and all the material possessions, cause one little notepad and box of crayons can make them travel realms of awesomeness.
- don't hold on to pain, nor do they take longer than 1 minute to get back to their normal fun self even if, by chance, something doesn't go their way.
- are always excited and open to new and fun adventures.
- are constantly positive and happy. They don't need a reason to be happy; they just are.
Such is the kind of childlike laughing that I would like to be having regularly. After all, why shouldn't I laugh? Am I not a child of the Almighty God who caters for my needs as He does for the sparrows? Is my life not under His control even in moments of challenge?
My dear reader, I beseech you to also laugh regularly like a small child. Some may say that we laugh because we are happy but the truth is, we also become happy because we laugh. So try to laugh even during hard times instead of sitting around looking sour and gloomy. You can't have all play and sunshine everyday; therefore laugh when troubles come. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.
NEW! NEW! NEW! For those of you who missed my social media update two days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new song that is available in the videos' section of this blog. Just click on the "videos" link on the menu at the top of this blog to listen to the song.