Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
I smelled a funky smell. Stinky socks…or feet. It had to be stinky socks or feet. And of course, it HAD to be coming from my husband. He is the one with the foot stench. But as I walked around the house I noticed the smell followed me wherever I went. That’s when it hit me. I had worn the same socks during my workout for the last 3 days. I bent down to sniff my feet and WOW! Yep, the foot stench was mine.
There are a few things I have had to get used to as my husband and I continue our intense workout program. Sweat. Stink. Soreness. Dirty hair. Superfluous amounts of deodorant have now become necessary. As well as a shower before bed rather than in the morning.
Sacrifices. I am making sacrifices so that I can be fit and in shape. And I have a choice when it comes to these sacrifices. I can get upset about them, or I can make peace with them.
And as I pondered this while sitting in my dirty bathwater, it occurred to me that my workout experience is not that different from other experiences in my life with “peacemaking”. I have to make peace with ridiculous amounts of sweat because I want to be fit, and sometimes I have to make peace with the “flaws” I notice in others, and let them go, because I want to have peaceful relationships. I can’t expect to have a good workout without sweating, and I can’t expect to have a relationship with a person without them having some flaws. The sooner I accept those flaws (sometimes even embrace them) and extend grace, the sooner peace will wash over my heart.
I am not writing about times when you need to confront a brother or sister in the faith because they have fallen into a pit of sin. Certainly with close relationships God will give us direction as to how we handle these matters. I am talking about the things other people do that annoy us or get our emotions all tightly wound. Like when my husband loads all the dishes in the dishwasher yet refuses to turn it on. Or when I get irratated at him over something silly, like not celebrating an event in the way or to the magnitude I expected him to. Sometimes the flaws we see in other people grow to such a giant size in our minds that they overtake the joy of the relationship – and all we see is the flaw.
At the root of this usually lies unrealistic expectations. Nothing will kill a relationship faster than these overblown, intenally created, ideas that we want others to live up to. If we want to have peace in our relationships and in our lives, we must be peacemakers. We must make peace. What is one way we can do that? Release others from unrealistic expectations. Set them free from the tightly wound mental threads and release them to have the flaws and quirks that make them who they are. Honestly, these “flaws” may be what drew you to them in the first place.
And so, yes, I will make peace with my sweat, and think of it as a pretty glow! And I will make peace with the dishwasher issue and be thankful that he loads the dishwasher in the first place. And by doing so, I will make peace. And peacemakers and children of God.