May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in God,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Promoting nonviolence is a primary pursuit of peacemaking. Skillful, intentional communication is required for peaceful resolutions on an international scale in war-torn regions, in the conflicts experienced in our local communities and even within our households. This communication requires practice and practice and more practice.
What if this practice of peaceful, nonviolent communication begins within us? The way we treat ourselves internally is the seed from which our actions toward others will grow. This “self-care” work is a valuable undertaking as it impacts our work for nonviolence in our households, communities and world. You are a valuable part of the body of Christ. Caring for yourself provides a solid foundation from which to participate in the peacemaking work of Christ in the world.
I propose that the best starting place is to practice a posture of empathy. Practice empathy toward yourself today. What do you notice? Does the “self-talk” in your head sound peaceful? Gracious? Empathetic? Or are you quick to criticize, judge and berate yourself? How can you shift the words you speak to yourself in a direction that honors the precious beloved creation of God that you are?
May you nurture and grow this seed of empathy, and may you bear the fruit called peace.
Action: Journal what you observe today as you notice your “self-talk.” Replace any hurtful statements with words of affirmation.
Prayer: Guide me, Jesus, in the pursuit of peace. Amen.
Amy Lewis serves as the mission specialist to the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. She brings a social work perspective to her work, based on her years of advocating, networking and supporting nursing home residents, as well as families and children in crisis. Amy resides in southern Indiana with her husband and teenage children.
This year’s Path of Peace reflections are designed to help participants explore peacemaking efforts addressing some of the major issues of our time. The theme for the 29 days of the 2022 A Season of Peace is Led Forth in Peace: Critical Areas of Engagement for Peacemakers. With these daily reflections, we are invited to reflect upon ways to practice peace by engaging the following critical areas:
- Climate change
- The intersection of poverty and racism