With eight or nine people living in our house, including a two year old, a four year old, and two nine year olds, there is a lot of conflict in our house. As a parent, I am always trying to douse a fire and maintain peace.
This Sunday, our pastor, Vince MacDonald, preached from 1 Peter 3:8. The first few words jumped off the page. "All of you, be harmonious" (NASB). This is what I want my kids to get. Of course, I can probably use some of it too, especially after a long day at work or dealing with unruly kids.
So, how do we live harmoniously?
I equate it with some other concepts I have been trying to instill in my children, such as "peacemaking" and simply getting along with each other. To do this, they should often just ignore the behavior of someone else. "He is calling me names," one child yells. "He's taking my toy," another accuses. "She's singing too loud," someone complains. Yes, the child who is hitting, taking toys, singing too loud, or whatever is wrong. But, you can still make peace and get along. How? By ignoring it. Just ignore them and do something else. It's not that big of a deal. Just let it go. Plus, once you ignore them, they will get tired of calling you names, playing with your toy, and singing loudly.
I had a chance to live this out the other night and I used it as an example for my children. We were at a rodeo and our seats were behind a fence. I wanted some good action pictures, but could not get them because of the fence. So, I moved up above the fence. I carefully chose my spot between some bleachers; I would not obstruct someone's view. After taking a few shots, another photographer stepped right in front of me. He rudely got in my way and the way of other people.
This guy is rude. He's a jerk. I was here first. I am the polite guy; I'm not in anyone's way. I have the right to be here and he should get out of my way. I could nicely approach him and ask him to move. If I am nice, he might get out of my way. He may also continue to be a jerk and cause a scene.
But, I can be a peacemaker. I can choose peace. I simply walked down the path to another section. I stood between the bleachers and took my pictures. No reason to confront the jerk. No reason to risk a scene. Just move. That is peacemaking.
Often, we just need to forget about our rights, or being right, and just ignore a problem. Be a big enough person to solve it without conflict. Make peace. This is what I am trying to teach my children. If I can learn it too, then we all might be peacemakers and live harmoniously. After all, blessed are the peacemakers.