Each month in 2017 OUTLOOK is featuring individuals who are actively involved in peacemaking with their families, friends and communities. The following interview focuses on a teacher living in Washington.
What does it mean to be a person of peace?
The Bible says peace only comes from God, and I believe that’s true. A deep inner peace changes a person’s entire outlook on the world, how they see people, and how they make decisions. I think seeking this peace begins with a decision that God is king, and to surrender your days and dreams to Him.
What does peacemaking look like to you?
I think sometimes it’s easy to be a passively peaceful person. There’s not an outright conflict, so we choose to let something simmer even though it’s going to bother us every time we think about it. Perhaps intentional peacemaking involves conflict at the start. The willingness to pursue peace of mind, peace in a relationship and a heart at peace might mean some hard work at the front—the willingness to approach problems with an open mind and seek a solution.
How do you try to keep peace both at home and work?
I try to be flexible as changes and needs arrive, and not harbor huge unspoken expectations. Secret expectations will almost always lead to disappointment and a feeling of betrayal. Also, I think it’s important to recognize what things are valuable to those around you—family, friends, coworkers—and strive to not blow off those things just because you don’t feel they matter. If it matters to an important person in your life, it needs to matter at some level to you as well.
Can you share a specific example?
If having an orderly house is important to the people you live with, this should be something you strive for, even if a little clutter or disorganization doesn’t bother you. You might think there are many more important things to do with your time than organize the kitchen, but if that’s a high priority to the people sharing that space with you, it should be a high priority to you. This not only maintains a peaceful environment and prevents tension from building, it also communicates to others they are important to you.
What’s a Bible verse about peace that is meaningful to you?
“Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).
Is there a saying or quote about peace that you like?
There’s a quote that says “No one can steal your joy unless you let them.” I think we could say the same for peace.
—Bethani King is a music and Spanish teacher at Skagit Adventist Academy in Burlington, Washington. She spent a year in Honduras as a missionary and recently worked in Lebanon with refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.