by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
A few weeks ago I sat in the parking lot of Costco mentally preparing myself. It was a Saturday afternoon and I knew what awaited me once I entered this members only “warehouse of wonder”. I reminded myself to slow down; be patient with those who obliviously block the aisles repeatedly for the free samples; show kindness to those who zigzag through the store as if they were in a race or cut me off to get a closer place in the checkout line; be mindful of the budget when faced with the alluring temptations and great deals of items not on the list. With my positive attitude in place I headed into the chaos of carts to do my best to shop in peace with fellow members.
As a member of the body of Christ, I find that the more I mentally and spiritually prepare myself ahead of time for my relationship with other members, the better I am able to move towards Romans 12:18 and “live at peace with everyone”. Being uniquely created, our similarities and differences that should be celebrated all too often become prey to our fallenness.The very peace God intends for our lives is disturbed and our relationships fracture. Pastor Rick Warren writes “Because you were formed to be a part of God’s family and the second purpose of your life on earth is to learn how to love and relate to others, peacemaking is one of the most important skills you can develop.”
This is a skill that has not been developing either quickly or easily in my life, yet God has been faithful to provide sufficient opportunities for growth. I have learned that an essential component of peacemaking is respect, and an essential component of respect is listening. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19). Nicely tied to this verse is the wise reminder that God gave us two ears and one mouth so we listen twice as much as we speak. Stephen R. Covey also reveals a blind spot many of us share, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” This disciplined practice of taking our thoughts and attention off of our own needs requires nothing less than an intentional renewing of our minds. Cooperating with the Holy Spirit, we will learn how to better understand the needs of others through listening, which will change how we respond to every situation. Peacemaking is a continual process which strengthens our relationships and and adds value to our Christian witness.
My peacemaking skills were definitely put to the test that day at Costco, yet I am happy to report a successful endeavor. And although I believe that kindness is its own reward, overpriced pre-cooked bacon makes for a great reward too :)
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal