October 25th, 2017
#iCONVICTION (Hold Your Peace): Cape May County Herald

(Actual Column Online) Have you ever felt like you failed miserably in a trying situation? Maybe you lost your temper or spewed out some careless words that you couldn’t take back.

I know it’s happened to me. And oddly enough, it’s after processing the circumstances at hand, that I have come to the realization that even in my weakness when things go awry, it can be well worth it if it fosters spiritual growth in me.

You see, I tend to suffer most in the recovery following those moments of failure. I let it play over and over in my mind. I ruminate. But I also trust that the more I suffer because I blew it in my reaction, the more I will eventually have to offer others.

Please allow me to explain…

I allowed a trivial incident to steal my peace in a confrontation with someone and I learned a valuable lesson in the process: I can only be stripped of my peace if I let go of it myself.

And let go of it I did —at least temporarily, but long enough to understand that God's peace is something I should never grip loosely. After all, how can I expect to share so willingly something I can lose so easily? I must hold on tighter.

I failed not so much in my actions per say, but in my reaction to someone else disrespecting something, I hold dear. Instead of calmly addressing the matter, I responded to the situation in my old nature. I should have taken a breath, uttered a silent prayer, or just covered it in the name of Christ.

I quickly realized that giving up my composure and peace because of someone else's irresponsibility makes me the fool.

In I Samuel 10:27, Saul was appointed the king and a group of rebels disrespected and despised him for it, refusing to show him the honor and reverence that was rightfully his.

We find such a beautiful truth at the end of verse 27, "But he held his peace." On such a monumental day for King Saul, in a situation where he had every right to act in force or retaliate, he simply held onto his peace and composure.

His response to the rebels’ insubordination diffused a potentially volatile situation and kept King Saul’s peace safely within his grip.

I have learned that temporary agitations, annoyances, and attacks are just a part of life, but more so, these temporary lapses are helping me realize that my peace will only remain when I intentionally hold onto it through affliction.

I may have lost my grip and dropped my peace, but now I know what to watch out for the next time I'm provoked. I thought my grip was strong, but in losing it, I learned how shaky it really is.

Looking back on my life, the people who have always ministered to me the most have been those acquainted with suffering. There is something so real about them that it makes me feel comfortable being transparent.

Suffering comes in all forms, but if we can learn to keep our composure, we will have more to offer in the end. Lesson learned.

"But he held his peace" (I Samuel 10:27) – Humbled to hold on.

ED. NOTE: Matthew Maher is a former professional athlete and author of the books "U MAY B THE ONLY BIBLE SOMEBODY READS: R U LEGIBLE?" & “Imprisoned by Peace.” His “Decisions Determine Destiny” assemblies are funded by State Farm and service youth in the tristate area. He is the President of Soldiers for Faith Ministries and also the Director of Student Ministries at Coastal Christian Ocean City. He served four years and seven months in N.J. State prison and was released August 2014. You can learn more at Follow him on Twitter @mattmaherstory and Instagram @matthewmaher7. 

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