Wednesday, May 31, 2017

When Peacekeeping is a Shut Mouth

Last year, I wrote a guest post for a blog called The Ruth Experience.  I wrote about what it means to be a woman when you are single, childless, and sans high heels.  You can read the post here:

The gals who author the site have written a book called Grace for the Misfits and will give one copy away to the first person who e-mails me at  You can read more about their 31 day devotional on Amazon.

I hope you find this post a reflective experience.


I adamantly disagreed with the conversation I unwittingly had become entrenched in. Struggling to know what to do, I glanced around the room, looking for a way out before my face gave away my internal emotions.

Part of me wanted to speak up, but I also knew anger was welling inside of me, and I was sure that what would come out of my mouth would not be very kind. Instead, I got up from the table and left the room.

I went outside to watch my kids play. Still feeling upset about what was being discussed, I wondered if I’d done the right thing by just leaving the conversation.

Later on that evening I told my husband what had happened. As I explained my non-response, I told him, “You know, I’ve certainly regretted things I’ve said in anger, but I have never regretted keeping my mouth shut. Not once.”

As several days have now passed, I have not been able to stop thinking about how good it feels to know that I kept my mouth shut when I wanted to say something (potentially) hurtful. How, sometimes, choosing to keep my relationships intact is more important than sharing my opinions or even being right.

This doesn’t mean there haven’t been times I’ve needed to go back and have discussions with people about conversations I’ve quietly left. I’m certainly not an advocate for avoiding issues that need to be brought up or hashed out, but I’m learning that speaking in anger often accomplishes little more than hurt feelings and resentment. At least, for me it does. Usually I just end up saying things I later regret and then have to go back and apologize anyway.

Being a peacemaker often means watching my tongue, caring for another person's heart and well-being more than my ability to be free to say whatever I want.

My mouth is a powerful tool, and I choose if I’ll use it for good or bad.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

I’m learning that Jesus's words are compelling and not to be taken lightly. He said that peacemakers would be called children of God, and that is what I want to be called. More than anything else. More than I want to be able to share my opinions. More than lashing out in anger. More than even getting my own way.

This way of Jesus may garner friction when it's at odds with what my flesh desires, but it’s the quiet calm my spirit knows and rests in that draws me more to Christ and his way. It's that calm that reminds me: This is right--this watching my words, speaking peacefully and not harshly.

Sometimes the easiest way to keep the peace is just to keep my mouth shut.

Kendra Roehl is described by her father as a “defender of the weak,” and is always looking for those who fall through the gaps and are in need of help. Her natural inclination towards the hurting has segued into first a career as a clinical social worker, then a foster and adoptive mom, and now a writer and speaker. She and her cohorts believe wholeheartedly that loving God and others should shape all aspects of their lives and are certain that small acts of kindness can truly change the world. Kendra writes and speaks regularly in her community and home church, as well as volunteers as an advisor for Bridging the Gap, a Christian women’s organization in Minnesota that offers godly support to women through resources, conferences, and leadership development. You can find Kendra writing honestly about topics such as marriage, motherhood, foster care and adoption, and social justice at The Ruth Experience.

Her new book, Grace for the Misfits: 31 Days Pursuing the Unconventional Favor of God, is available now! This book will offer encouragement and hope for anyone who has ever felt like they didn’t quite fit in, walked through hard times, or wasn’t sure God could use them--all while discovering the upside-down ways of Jesus, his kingdom, and what (and who) he says matters.

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