Advent Reflections: Peace and Peacemaking
By Dr. Brad Schwall, Executive Director, Pastoral Counseling Center
Peace often eludes us. Negative thoughts, depression, addictions, conflict in relationships, and misplaced priorities create stress, emotional pain, and turmoil. On the outside, we may appear as if we have it all together, yet, inside, we may suffer from worry, confusion, and anger. We hope for peace - freedom from troubles in our emotional and relational lives. We hope for peace in our society and in the world.
The prophets told of someone who would be born who would be a “Prince of Peace” who would bring “endless peace.” (Isaiah 9:6-7) The angels appearing to the shepherds sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:13-15) Jesus’ ministry demonstrated how he brought the peace of which the prophets spoke and the angels sang. Jesus listened to people who did not have inner peace. He listened to those who were sick, isolated, and confused. He listened to people who needed encouragement. He listened to people who were hurting. He guided them to peace. Jesus taught, “blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) We are peacemakers when we take action to give love, listen, accept, admit wrongs, forgive, and encourage. The actions and words of Jesus teach us that we can have peace even when we face challenges and that we are truly happy when we seek to nurture peace around us in our relationships and communities.
The staff of the Pastoral Counseling Center listen to people who face challenges, hurt, confusion, and crisis who are seeking peace. We use best practices and strategies developed through research on psychology and counseling. We also respect and welcome reflection on faith and spirituality by our clients. We believe that spirituality is a resource and a foundation on which we can build new skills and find peace. There are many ways to find support. Friends, ministers, churches, and physicians all can provide guidance, suggestions, prayer, and care. At times, our struggles are such that we may benefit from professional care by someone with training in addressing issues such as marital conflict, mood disorders, and alcohol dependence. Our counselors strive to use our talents, training, and experience to assist people as they heal and grow. And, when clients wish to integrate their faith in their healing and growth, we are willing and prepared to do so.
Many in our community not only face emotional and relational challenges, but also face the added stresses that come with poverty and a lack of resources to get help. For 46 years, the Pastoral Counseling Center has provided professional, faith-integrated care regardless of the client’s ability to pay. We are carrying on this mission in new ways. The Center has begun an innovative program to provide counseling and wellness education on location at established organizations that provide supportive and health care services to communities impacted by poverty.
The Center needs your financial support to send counselors to Brother Bill’s Helping Hand in West Dallas, Buckner International’s Wynnewood Family Hope Center in South Dallas, and to agencies in the Vickery area to provide counseling and wellness education in conjunction with their services. Your gift will help us help children, adults, families, and communities find peace. Please join us in being peacemakers as we seek to help people heal from emotional hurt, resolve conflict, and transform their lives.
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