These verses in Colossians 3 tell us to let the peace of Christ rule in our relationships. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts – not drama or misunderstanding!
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:15-17 NIV
A Communication Issue
My husband and I have the opportunity to work with a lot of newlyweds and “nearly-weds” in ministry. We have one story from our first year of marriage that always comes up when we are teaching on communication.
Every once in a while, when he and I were walking together outside, he would say “tut, tut!” I was crushed. I knew he was probably only kidding, but his words cut through me like a knife because I already had so many self-image issues. We loved to joke around with each other, but those words were just inappropriate! I grew up watching and reading The Jungle Book, and “tut, tut” was what Mowgli said to control the elephants! I couldn’t believe he could be so cruel! But then I guess I could believe it because I got more and more upset…
After several months of this rudeness from my husband I decided to put my foot down. One day he said it as we were leaving an event, and as we got in the car I let him have it. At first he looked really concerned, and then he kind of started to laugh a bit. You see, my husband grew up watching and reading Winnie the Pooh, and I was not familiar with it. Apparently Christopher Robin uses the phrase “Tut, tut! It looks like rain!” He was thinking Pooh, and I was thinking Jungle Book…the whole time.
The Peace of Christ as our Umpire
We can get a good laugh out of it now. It’s my favorite story to relate back to interpersonal conflict and communication – especially within the body of Christ. In a larger congregational setting we don’t always know each other’s circumstances, motivations, or reasoning. To our shame, most of the time we fill in those gaps of information with negative assumptions. We think that person in our Sunday school class just doesn’t like us, or we misinterpret someone’s tone in a conversation to be hostile toward us.
One commentary I read referred to the peace of Christ being the umpire in every situation. The easiest way to keep ourselves focused on letting His peace be the umpire is found in verse 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. When we spend time daily in God’s Word, we tend to give more people the benefit of the doubt. That is what Christ has done for us. He not only gives us the benefit of the doubt, He gave Himself to put us in right standing with the Father.