Peacemakers Are Tremendous

While leadership is about bringing out the best in people, the flip side is effectively addressing and resolving conflict. True leaders excel in both arenas.

They say that anger is one letter away from danger, and that is true. I am involved in monthly book discussions through a tremendous prison ministry called LIFE, Inc., which stands for Leading Inmates in Faith and Education. The organization's leader, Marcia Sinkovitz, and I witness the price of letting emotions override minds and their consequences. Although these men accept God's gift of grace, own their actions, and seek restoration, the better path is to avoid poor emotional regulation altogether.

And it's not just those behind bars that suffer from a lack of self-control. One need only flip through social media channels, attend a school board or homeowners meeting, or drive on a highway to witness varying degrees of hostility.

The greatest thing you can become is a peacemaker. In the Beatitudes, Jesus calls them "blessed" and “the Sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Being blessed is the exact opposite of being raged upon. And that's why it's so tremendous to be a peacemaker.

As my leadership lenses continue to see more clearly, I'd have to say that being a peacemaker is one of the most extraordinary things a leader can be. Please note that a peacekeeper is NOT a peacemaker. A peacekeeper is someone who keeps two or more from killing each other, like a false détente. Think of a mother who puts her sibling rivals in a room and tells them to just get along. Or consider the United Nations, which puts boots on the ground to prevent warring nations from attacking each other.

We get numerous chances to hone our peacemaker skills in the professional arena. When dealing with a hostile client or a disgruntled employee, I have learned some skills.

First, hear them out. Be quiet and let them communicate. You can't become a first-rate peacemaker without allowing the other person to be heard. Verbalizing is vital and will keep them from feeling marginalized.

Second, own it; all of it. That doesn't mean taking on the blame, but taking the higher road and considering all the ways you could have allowed the situation to develop and escalate. It also allows you the space to realize that hurt people hurt people, so getting them to step up to the plate is not feasible at this juncture.

Third, offer an apology and go in peace. Angry people see things through rage eyes which distort everything. Say you’re sorry, and let it go.

Fourth, do not discuss this with anyone other than the individual when/if they are ready for restoration and they reach out to you. Numerous people share others' meltdowns when they should have kept it quiet. In doing this, they severely hamper the other's person's opportunity to move forward since everyone will know about their outburst.

Remember, it's always better to be relational rather than right when dealing with emotions because facts don't factor in until cooler heads prevail.

I came across the illustration below, and it greatly impacted me. I hope it blesses you too.

There once lived a boy who had a bad temper. He would get angry at every little thing. One day, his father gave him a bag of nails and told him, "Every time you get angry, hammer a nail into that brick wall."

And so the activity started. On the first day, the boy hammered 50 nails. The next day, he hammered 40. Each time he went there, he repented for being angry as it was quite a challenge to hammer a nail into that brick wall! Slowly, he discovered that controlling anger was easier than hammering, and the number of nails hammered started going down.

Eventually, a day came when he didn't get angry, and he felt the joy of it. Now his father gave him another task, "If you do not get angry the entire day, remove one nail from the wall." After several days, all the nails were removed.

Now his father took him near the wall and asked him what he saw. The boy replied that he could see holes in the wall. The father then explained to his son: "These holes are like the scars you leave on people when you get angry. No matter how many times you say sorry, the scar does not go."

So I suggest you two things:

Realize that words once spoken, cannot come back. Your anger hurts others and leaves a sour impression that lasts forever.

Each time you get angry, "hammer a nail ." The simplest thing you can do is to carry a pocket diary and put a line each time you get angry. Then at night, count the number of lines for that day. If you make this a habit, each time you would get angry, you'll be reminded to write it down. Indirectly, you would also realize that you getting angry. And because you are conscious and aware at that time, you would find it easier to control your actions and subdue anger.

I hope the day comes soon when you don't have any lines in your diary.

AngerBeatitudesEmotional regulationForgivenessTemper

1 comment

jeremy mutzabaugh

jeremy mutzabaugh

We cannot control other people’s attitudes or emotions. I will usually deal with angry people this way—if they know of no other emotion then anger, then I will usually not deal with that person because I don’t want to catch the same bad emotion myself. I have a really nice sense of joy and cheerfulness when I am happy and have found a way to not let anyone steal my joy. If someone is always angry, that is on them.

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