Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)
A district superintendent from another district, while facilitating a recent meeting I attended, asked participants to name one thing they appreciated about their church and one thing they would like to see more of. People talked about how members of their congregation worked together well, and how they reached out to their community with gifts, services, and shelter in the church in times of crisis. Then they described how they would like to see stronger communication or a bigger youth group.
I so appreciated this way of having people describe church life together. In our church life as well as marriages, friendships, classmate and colleague relationships, we can always find things that make us unhappy. Imagine how much more peaceful life could be if we spent our time seeking things to appreciate and speaking words of encouragement to our spouses. colleagues and friends, as well as others with whom we associate, such as cashiers, waiters, and service personnel. When we express appreciation, it can make someone’s day. When holding someone accountable for behavior that needs to change, if we state what we would appreciate more of, we find peaceful ways to move forward together instead of destructive, divisive complaints that block communication, relationships, peace, and progress.
In coming weeks, strive for peace in your relationships. Seek aspects of your life together that you appreciate, and ways in which you might build on blessings.