PURSUING PEACE | My Neighbour and me

pursue peace
Previously, I would come back to my house from office to see the house-front all messed up with bottles of drinks, used plates and so many other things I wouldn’t want to start mentioning here. These things were usually right in front of my house and I would murmur in my heart, sweep them away and retire into my apartment. I knew my neighbours whose houses share the same compound with mine were responsible for this but I would always keep quiet and not want to talk about it hoping that the moment they see me sweep it off they would realize they haven’t been acting right and giving me some respect in my own space. Well, the reverse was the case and each day the mess keeps increasing and sometimes I would even see spilt drinks all over the place making a lot of mess in front of my house. The funny thing was that these guys have lots of space in front of their own houses but they would rather prefer mine because it has some kind of shelter and a well-tiled floor on the outside.
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One certain evening, I was coming home from midweek service and had a visitor. I have had lots of hassles for the day but of course, had the feeling of uncommon peace after the experiences we had in Church. When I reached my house, I couldn’t believe my eyes, the mess was just worse with papers, plates, bottles and ashes all over the place. I got so angry that I almost rushed my neighbour’s house to hit at his gates and drag him out so that we could trash this out once and for all! Adrenaline had already shot through me as my voice started raising gradually but my visitor said to me “do you know it will be better you enter your house, drink cold water, relax your head overnight and talk to them about it in the morning?” I didn’t think about it twice because one of my resolves some time ago was to always talk over things after my emotions were done boiling. I had realized each time I act according to my boiling emotions, I make certain mistakes however I also felt those guys needed it hot from me because they never looked like those who would want a peaceful dialogue. I kept my cool though and entered my house deciding not to sweep that place as usual.
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Between midnight and morning, I was already rehearsing how to go about it, I was already fixing my lines, arranging my footsteps and bracing up my chest before the mirror! I needed to sound very mean, strict and organised. I didn’t want to look like a coward in my own house! I had all my plans laid down before, I had plans A, B and C! I had plans of what to do if they ever raise their voice at me because I felt they would do so since it was obvious they have been looking for trouble. I had plans of involving the landlord to warn them and then finally get the Police involved if they prove stubborn; I just had big plans as though it was very big stuff because I already had my mind on a certain definition of those guys. I wanted to start out with “Hey Bro! I don’t want to come back to my house to see those mess you and your friends made in front of it! I know you have been looking for my trouble for some time now and you will get it in full dose!” but something in me told me “George, nothing will change about you if you greet one of them politely, take him aside and talk to him about it with smiles on your face. May be you just have to start from there, you may be the one drumming for war and not them. Seek peace, it is priceless.” I decided to hearken to that inner voice.
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That morning, other burdens came up as I tried making breakfast. I had run out of so many things, my gas needed refilling, the groceries were all gone, I had run short of water and I had little or no resources to either pump water or do otherwise! I was leaving for office that morning not knowing if I would be able to even fund myself back home that evening! I smiled at myself and said “there are much more important things to pay attention to than spending time in the mirror practicing how to be a man before your neighbours.” When I left my house that morning, I walked straight to the gate of my neighbour and as usual, he was outside with his friends. I forced a smile, greeted all of them and signalled him to step aside so we would have a talk. He was surprised because I usually don’t have any long talks with them due to my tight schedules! I gon out in the morning, come home late in the evenings. He came aside and we shook hands, I smiled again and started “how are you doing bro? Hope you are good?”
“Oh yes!” He said searching my eyes to know what exactly I wanted to tell him
“Well, I know you guys aren’t intentional about it,” I said looking for the right words to use “it is about my house-front…” He didn’t wait for me to continue and interrupted
“I am very sorry! I already told them about it this morning! It will never happen again” He said and I saw one his friends with broom going to sweep that place! We shook hands again and I left with a shock! Why was I shocked? I will tell you!
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I had thought they were looking for trouble, I had wanted to start out with a very harsh approach without knowing they had talked about it even before I walked up to him. I would have appeared as a fool if I went up to him to start shouting at him. Now, the lesson is simple. Do not be in a haste to respond to people’s misbehaviours, do not always think that people are picking up a fight with you and even if they do, approach them with peace! Do not stay aside judging people if you cannot walk up to them and address whatever it is they are doing wrong to you politely. There is no point murmuring about people and talking at their back if you cannot confront them about it. Peace is simple, cheap and unattractive though! But war is attractive, expensive and very destructive. If I have had a resolve, it is to pursue peace with all men in a better way.
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It is not wrong to be angry; if I wasn’t angry, I may not have even taken the step to walk up to him and address the issue but the problem lies in letting anger control us. Do not subject yourself to anger, rather be in control of your anger. Anger is an emotion given to us by God which can help us seek a lasting solution to a challenge but when we let anger stay in charge, we express conducts of sin. Anger can make you realize that something or someone isn’t right for you and makes you see avoid that situation even as you have forgiven anyone involved. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26 (GNT) “If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day.” The danger isn’t in being angry but in letting anger take the lead! Anger will never lead you rightly into good conduct, it will rather lead you into sinful conducts to the point you become worse than those who wronged you. Human anger will never produce righteousness no matter how it is expressed (James 1:20). We can only produce good fruits when we allow the word of God planted in us to give us direction. Concerning anger, the Bible says in Psalm 4:4 (NLT) “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.” If anything boils you up, don’t act at that moment, spend so much time thinking about it than acting immediately.
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Somewhere in Eastern Nigeria, something made the headlines! A woman ganged up with her friends to deal with another woman she believed her husband was cheating her with. She locked the woman in the bathroom for hours, stripped her naked, flogged her mercilessly, made videos of it and posted it on the social network. On later developments, the woman who ganged up with her friends had to face the law and it wasn’t favouring her, she is currently going through the mess she allowed anger put her into! If the other woman was sleeping around with her husband, it is a very bad and stupid thing which needs no encouragement but letting anger direct her actions wasn’t such a nice thing either; it made her worse! Had this woman politely walked up to this woman and have a heart to heart talk with her, it wouldn’t change who she is, it won’t make her any worse, it will rather gain her respect. The way of peace is not attractive, it gives the first impression of cowardice but peace is valuable! Sought for it!
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There are so many places in the Bible that talks about pursuing peace and doing all you can to be in peace with all men no matter how hard and unattractive it seems. You may need to post some of these verses on your wall where you can see it every morning and every night!
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Hebrews 12:14 (GNT) “Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it.”
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Romans 12:2 (NLT) “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”
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Romans 14:9 (NIV) “Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
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Mark 9:50 (CEV) “Salt is good. But if it no longer tastes like salt, how can it be made salty again? Have salt among you and live at peace with each other.”
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1 Thessalonians 5:13 (CEV) “Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves. “
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I hope this teaching bless you? What ways do you think we can pursue peace with everyone? Let’s get your thoughts on the comment section.  We’ve also got those verses on wallpaper for you! Feel free to use and share! Blessings!
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#GracefulGeorge

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