In 1979, Mother Teresa received the esteemed Nobel Peace Prize. She was a selfless Roman Catholic nun devoted to caring and loving the poor, the sick, the dying, the unwanted, and the lonely in Calcutta, India, and to influencing others to do the same around the world. After receiving the prize, she was asked, "What can we do to promote world peace?" She answered without hesitation, "Go home and love your family."
Sometimes the need for outreach lies closer than we think. Many years ago, I raised my voice above the incessant bickering of my four young daughters in the car and asked the same question posed to Mother Teresa. The fighting momentarily stopped and I saw in my rearview mirror all eyes turn toward mine. "Well? How will our world ever experience peace?" With their father in the active duty Army, they all knew of the unrest caused by a world at war. They were silent. The rest of the way home I told them about Mother Teresa and her selfless devotion to others. After pulling into the driveway, I turned around and tenderly quoted Mother Teresa's response to the question of peace—"Go home and love your family." Even though we love one another, each member of our family has to daily work at expressing that love. Sometimes it is easy, but much of the time it requires sacrifice.
This month, dedicate one of your small group meetings to discussing different ways you and your small group members can promote peace in your homes. Consider making the pursuit for peace a month-long or study-long challenge. Follow these steps to begin:
- Define peace. Come to an agreement about the definition of peace and what peaceful families look like.
- Acknowledge the benefits. Examine the influence and power of a family who actively expresses their love for one another.
- Develop a plan. Brainstorm a list of actions and activities that can lead to a healthy expression of love.
- Be accountable. Form pairs or threesomes of accountability. Hold each other up in prayer during the week and be available to talk if life at home gets tough. Allow time each week to share individual experiences.
- Celebrate the victories. Plan a celebration at the end of the month or study. Invite those in your small group and their families to a BBQ or potluck dinner. Take turns sharing stories about the pursuit for more peace at home.
Small group leaders, encourage your group members to:
- Invite a neighbor, friend, or co-worker over to watch a movie.
- Pay someone's late fees at a video rental store.
- Fill a teenager's gas tank.