Monday, November 07, 2005
The way of peace is hard...
The decision to leave our previous church was a decision to pursue the way of peace. We knew that we could have stayed and argued for our convictions and fought for our jobs and maybe even won. But we also knew that to do that would have caused a lot of division in the church and would have undermined the senior pastor tremendously. So ultimately we chose to turn away, to refuse to fight, to refuse to destroy the bond of peace.

But what I'm now discovering is that choosing the way of peace is hard. It requires sacrifice. By refusing to fight I gave up my right to explain myself, to defend my point of view, to prove myself right. This is very hard for me. Ever since I was a little kid there has been nothing that I hate more than to be misunderstood and misrepresented. I don't mind if people disagree with me as long as they understand what I'm really saying; but for people to disagree with a straw man version of myself, for them to misunderstand what I have said and to prejudge me based on misinformation, well that just drives me insane. And choosing to leave our former church without a fight meant forfeiting my right to even explain to the church as a whole why I was leaving.

Not only that, it also prematurely cut off conversation with those who had disagreements with me, not least of which was the conversation with the senior pastor. It feels like we left in mid-sentence. I left without being able to finish my side of the argument. And that is very, very hard for me. Even now, nearly a year later, I still find myself trying to finish the argument in my head. I find myself rehearsing what I should have said or what I wish I could have said. I find myself still wanting to justify myself before my accusers.

But choosing the way of peace means giving up your right to defend yourself. Choosing the way of peace means choosing to deal with the hurt and the pain yourself rather than try to deal it back to those who hurt you. Choosing the way of peace means being willing to lose the argument. But it's hard. It's not fun. So much of me wants to be able to go back and say all the things that are bouncing around in my head. And so choosing the way of peace is more than a one time decision, it's a daily decision to offer reconciliation and forgiveness rather than anger and self-justification.

But it's still hasn't gotten any easier to make that daily choice. Pray for me.
posted by Mike Clawson at 11:59 PM | Permalink |


At 11/08/2005 04:13:00 PM, Blogger Erin

Mike, thank you for posting this; I appreciate it a lot.

I, too, have a hard time being misunderstood. It's one of the hardest things for me to deal with, I think.

This fall, I've found myself in a situation where I, too, have had to choose the way of peace. I received a word of advice from a professor about it that is really hard to live out, but is wise: "Be patient, humble yourself, and trust God." sounds nice to say, but is hard to do, especially when the consequences have to do with making difficult decisions and being silent.

I really appreciate this post; thanks, Mike.



At 11/08/2005 10:01:00 PM, Blogger Erin

Oh yes, and I will continue to pray for you, too.


At 11/08/2005 10:43:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Thanks Erin. :)

I hope you can make it to and up/rooted gathering soon, or to Emma's dedication this coming Sunday.

We miss you!



At 11/09/2005 08:41:00 PM, Blogger Erin

It's hard being so busy and so far away. I don't think I can make either, but I miss you and your family more than I can find words for. I'm grateful for your friendship, even when it's hard for us to see each other.

Blessings to you, Julie, and Emma at her dedication. I will continue to pray that she grows into a strong woman of God. With parents like you and Julie, I expect nothing less.


At 11/13/2005 12:23:00 AM, Anonymous Andy

Good post, as usual. It gives me a different take on a situation I had recently. Being misunderstood is also one of my hardest things to deal with.


At 11/15/2005 06:21:00 PM, Blogger Tony Myles

Whoa, dude! You just described the last year of my life, too.

Hang in there... I know those imaginary conversations all too well.


At 11/18/2005 04:10:00 PM, Blogger Brian

I struggle with that one sometimes. I left my previous church rather than gut it. At the time, I didn't think I could have gutted it. Now, I realize I could have and may have done it a favor, but that is hard to say. I don't regret taking the way of peace. But realize now that you are on the other side. This new church will be YOUR church. What will you do with those who disagree? What will you do with those who think you should be more traditional, even if you accidentally hire them (you know it happens)?


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