Pressing Pause

I don’t know about you, but if I were offered the chance to try remote-controlled living for just a day, I think I’d have to put it to the test. I would replay my happiest moments over and over again, forward through unpleasant encounters, and slow down the moments that went by too fast. But, there’s something else I think would come in pretty handy, too – the ability to pause life at the press of a button.

In the story of Cain and Abel, it occurred to me that Cain might have benefited from a nice long pause, too. We all know the story. After these two brothers offered their sacrifices to God, Abel’s offering was accepted. Cain’s was rejected. As a result, Cain became jealous and angry… very angry.

As Cain’s anger escalated, the Lord gently came to him and reasoned with him: “‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Now Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let’s go out to the field.’ While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him,” (Genesis 4:6-8, NIV).

Rather than heeding the Lord’s warning, Cain turned his resentment and anger into revenge – and it seems he did so without a moment of hesitation. Cain acted both on impulse and on anger, which proved to be a destructive combination. It often is for us, too.

Final Thoughts…

Anger is a powerful emotion, and when confronted by it, we can either control it or be controlled by it. If we choose the latter, the warning from the Spirit of God is unmistakable: sin is crouching at our door.

Unfortunately, when it comes to processing our anger, we don’t have the luxury of pressing pause and stopping the madness. Whenever we face disappointment, hurt, or rejection, many of us instinctively want to lash out and hurt the one who hurt us.  Even though this is often our initial response, there is a better way.

Rather than acting on our anger or trying to suppress it, we can take it to our Father who can help us process through it. We can look deep into our own hearts, and address the issues hidden deep inside of us. When we do, by the grace of God we can come to a place where we no longer aim to hurt, but to heal – where we no longer seek revenge, but to restore the relationship. This isn’t always the easier choice, but it is the better one. Press on. Walk the path.

DalePyneCropped

Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

Did you find this post helpful?

Did God Really Say…

Some questions are meant to clarify. Others are meant to confuse. If you’re looking for an example of the latter, search no further than the very first question ever asked. It is none other than the serpent’s deceptive and misleading question to Eve: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b).

The purpose of this question was not to enlighten. It was to deceive. It wasn’t to help the first couple reflect on what God said. It was to twist God’s words and cast doubt on His credibility.

Not surprisingly, the Adversary of our souls continues to use the same tactic to this day. Hoping to drive a wedge in our relationship with God, he approaches us during moments of vulnerability and sows seeds of doubt. If he can cause us to question and disbelieve the very words of God, he can more craftily entice us to abandon our deeply held convictions and act on our impulses instead.  This only serves to invite unnecessary heartache and strife into our relationships.

Final thoughts…

Our Adversary would like nothing more than to create distance in our relationships and keep us in a constant state of conflict. As believers, we must vigilantly guard our hearts against the seeds of doubt he deliberately tries to sow, lest those difficult questions and doubts bring us to the point where our faith in God is shaky… maybe even shattered.

Perhaps you are wrestling through tough questions about God’s trustworthiness and credibility, and are beginning to wonder: “Did God really say….”  If this describes where you are in your journey, the Father desires to bridge the gap and bring you close to Himself again. Will you open your heart to Him? Will you allow Him to restore your soul? The journey to healing and renewed trust begins with a single step. Go to the Father. Walk the Path.

DalePyneCropped

Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

Did you find this post helpful?

The Blame Game

He started it. It’s all her fault. This would have never happened if you hadn’t… If you’ve ever uttered words like these before, you’ve played the game. There are countless ways to play, and lots of ways to score big points, but no good way to win. It’s called “the blame game.”

The game made its debut on a day when life couldn’t have been better, sweeter, or more peaceful. Yet, despite the beauty of their home in the garden, the first couple was seduced by Satan and took a detrimental step into the very thing that each one of us battle every day – sin.

Adam and Eve listened to an unfamiliar voice, instead of the voice of their Maker. They trusted themselves and their own judgment, rather than trusting the One who gave them life and breath. Then, when their Creator confronted them, it was game time: “The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it,’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate,”’ (Genesis 3:12, NIV).

It’s been thousands of years since this incident occurred, but little has changed. When confronted with an unpleasant or inconvenient truth, generally our default reaction is to point fingers, cry foul, or shift blame to whomever or whatever comes to mind. While some might lean toward “the-devil-made-me-do-it” argument made popular by Eve, still others, like Adam, will blame the other person, or even subtly imply that God had something to do with their failures.

 Final thoughts…

Whenever conflict enters our space, sometimes our initial tendency is to play the blame game – a game in which, sadly, no one wins. Too often, it seems our first reaction isn’t our best. Yet, if we’ll quiet our hearts and invite our Heavenly Father into the moment, it gets easier to make the counter-intuitive choice to stop the noise in our heads and manage the visceral responses.

It’s when we look to our Savior, who stood in our place and took the blame for our own sins, that we can more clearly reflect on and take responsibility for the condition of our own hearts – our own actions. After that, we can reach out to others and make things right again.

Want to live at peace with others? Then the blame game is not for you. The alternative isn’t always easy, but it is simple. Walk the path.

DalePyneCropped

Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

Did you find this post helpful?

Party Protester

It was a joyous occasion, and everyone should have been celebrating. Yet, instead of sharing in the laughter, hugs, and happy tears, something altogether different was taking place in the heart of the prodigal’s older brother.

After learning about the massive party to celebrate his brother’s homecoming, “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” (Luke 15:28-30, NIV)

As I read the story of the prodigal from the perspective of the older brother, I’ve tried to put myself in his shoes. If I were in his place, I think I would have resented my younger brother’s negligence, abandonment, immorality, and frivolous ways. But, would I have been indignant over his homecoming? Would I have refused my father’s urging to join the party? Would I have accused my father of treating me unfairly?

In order to answer those questions honestly, I have to look at this story against the backdrop of my own life. Sadly, I can point to occasions when I would have to answer “yes” to each question. Whether openly or privately, there have been times when I have been skeptical of a repentant heart. Times when I have resisted the Father’s urging to be a part of the reconciliation process. Times when I have been exclusively preoccupied with wanting what is right, just, and fair.

Final Thoughts…

While the prodigal’s father exemplifies what it is to walk The Path of a Peacemaker, the older brother illustrates what it means to take a different route. His choices reflect a truth I’ve stated many times before– our first response to conflict usually isn’t our best response.

If reconciliation is an option for a troubled relationship, yet like the older brother, you’d rather be a party protestor than choose the path to peace, please know that I don’t offer words of condemnation. Instead, I offer words of hope. The Father is still urging you to make a different choice. With His help, you can move in a new direction. Take the first step. Walk the path.

DalePyneCropped

Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

Did you find this post helpful?