Tuesday, 04 August 2015 20:45

Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace

Written by  Saralu (Sam) Belkofer
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Something happened too terrible to put into words.  What can we do as Christians to come to peace with such a thing and help others do the same? So often we witness tragic losses over which we had no control to stop and no power to rectify. The list is long and covers the breadth of history from the Holocaust to the recent shootings in a Church in South Carolina.

Our first instinct, as is that of others, is to begin the 5 Stages of Grief.  At first we are in Denial, then we become very Angry, we try to Bargain, we enter Despair and finally, if we work hard enough, we find Acceptance, as the congregation in South Carolina displayed.  Christians are blessed, because the foundation of our faith is that God loves us, no matter what happens in the moment.  We are reminded of that love in this portion of the 139th Psalm of David…

 

 

“Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou are there! If is make my bed in Sheol (the grave) thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” (KJV)

 

When God gave to us the gift of His son, Jesus, he gave us a bridge to his love and faithfulness. He gave us a tangible way to bolster and nurture our trust in Him. God has earned out trust over and over again.  We are assured that even though there is so much pain and loss in our experience, God’s love is a constant that will not waver.

 

Children hopefully trust their parents to have their best interest at heart and feel safe obeying them even when they don’t want to do so.  As Christians, we trust God in the very same way. We know that God knows so much more than we know, and that His vision of All Time far exceeds the Here and Now for us. Our faith helps us get beyond the fear of terrible things outside our comprehension in order to keep us close to the comfort of God’s love and His presence.

 

In the Sermon on the Mount,     Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus teaches us…

     

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but put it on a stand, and it gives light to all the house. Let your light so shine before all men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

 

 

What can we do as Christians to comfort ourselves and others in times of great loss? We can do what we can do. It is that simple. No matter how small, we can give a kind word, a shared sadness, a comforting hug, and our faith in God and his presence. 

 

As human beings, we are capable of such strong emotions: love, hate, anger, grief and joy. Traumatic losses reduce us all to the base emotion of fear. God, through Christ, helps us move out of fear into peacefulness. This is a gift that Christians have the opportunity to share at all times but especially at times of great loss.

 

We can use the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi to show us the way.

 

 

Lord make me an instrument

of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

And where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not

so much seek to be consoled as

to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

 

Saralu (Sam) Belkofer is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is a 1969 graduate of Auburn University with a BA in Education and graduated from Georgia State University with an MA in Counseling in 1988.

 

Prior to coming to The Samaritan Counseling Center, Sam counseled adults at Chemical Addictions Program from 1994 until 1999; Therapeutic Programs, Inc., where she worked with children and foster parents of children in need of therapeutic foster care; and at Helping Montgomery Families Initiative, sponsored by Ellen Brooks and the District Attorney’s office, assisting troubled children/youth in Montgomery Public Schools and their families; and as the Montgomery County Director of Adult Outpatient Services with Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority until November 2013.

 

Sam counsels adolescents, young adults and adults, employing psychotherapy to gain insight into problems to develop needed strategies for life transitions, survivors of abuse and neglect, addictions, forgiveness, ADHD, anxiety and depression, issues of abandonment, attachment and development of life skills.

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 August 2015 20:46
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