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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

Sept. 17, 2010 - Peacemakers

By Dave Kidd

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9, NIV).

Earlier this year, I watched the end of the Olympic hockey game between the United States and Canada. At one point, I had my back to the television but I could tell something was happening by the response of the crowd. I turned just in time to see a whistle-blowing referee scrambling to get between two opposing players who were exchanging words and then quickly became physical.

What was it that fueled the response in the crowd? In a word — escalation. The word “escalate” means to increase in intensity. In that hockey game it probably went something like this.

A player said or did something that irritated an opposing player, and those two players faced each other — escalation. Those players exchanged words — escalation. Those players raised their voices — escalation. Finally, those players began to get physical — escalation.

The crowd in the stands loved every second of it. We love to see a show — from a Donnybrook at a baseball game to a football coach barking at a referee. These altercations attract attention and, unfortunately, send a message.

This stop in Jesus’ outline of the journey toward happiness asks us to look, again, at our thoughts, motives and actions toward others. As a marriage counselor, let me use marriage as the central arena for this issue.

Consider your spouse. When your spouse does something to irritate you, you are faced with a choice. You can choose either to let it go, or act and risk escalation. The latter, however, is hard to reconcile with Christ’s teaching throughout the Gospels. You know what I am writing about — “turning the other cheek” and “loving our enemies.” If you cannot do this with your spouse, how then can you ever hope to do it with your enemies?

Making peace in our marriages can be as simple as keeping our thoughts captive, holding our tongue, minding our volume, guarding our tone and, conversely, refusing to give our spouse the silent treatment.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Sounds simple, does it not? So, why do we often find ourselves allowing the escalation of our own poor behavior toward our spouse? We need to become keenly aware of when escalation is happening and mentally blow a whistle, telling ourselves to get a grip and tone it down.

As couples who wear the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we need to be especially cognizant of this aspect of our lives. Why? As Christians, we are to reflect God’s love in full view of others. What is our life as a couple showing the people around us? If our voices are raised and our emotions are escalated, I dare say our lives, at that given time, are not showing God’s love.

If our words and actions demonstrate God’s love towards our spouses and, subsequently, all those who are indeed watching us, then we are indeed making peace, creating unity, and we are well on our way toward happiness.

— Dave Kidd serves as associate pastor at Grace Fellowship — “the caring place” — in Canton, Ohio, and is the author of the Monday Marriage Minder devotionals.

 

 

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