Peace-Breaking, Peace-Faking, or Peace-Making

August 20, 2010

“That’s mine!,” “Hey give that back!,” “I’ll never forgive him!,” “I can’t talk to them any more!,” Conflict is all around us. Conflict is in us! Our sinful hearts constantly produce excuses to be in conflict. And I suspect you have heard some of these things recently. It may even be a part of your normal speech or a regular occurrence in your home. James 3:10 “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Conflict, while it is inevitable, is against God’s design—especially for the church. Jesus puts a high emphasis on being a peacemaker as He teaches that being at peace with your brother is a prerequisite to true worship. Matt 5:23-24.

That is why I highly recommend the Peacemaker books by Ken Sande. The Peacemaker, geared towards adults, The Peacemaker Student Edition and, Peacemaking for Families, are wonderful books to aid you in your pursuit of peace that puts Jesus Christ on display in all your relationships.

Conflict is a restless evil that seeks to undermine the very prayers of our Lord. Consider. John 17:20-21.

Our unity and peace communicates the love of God and the radical transformation that He has done in our hearts. And, if indeed He has done a work in our hearts, the way we deal with conflict ought to look more like Christ and less like the world. Our unity puts Jesus Christ on display and quite the opposite is the case when we are in consistent un-reconciled conflict with each other as believers.

Ken Sande seeks, not only to expose this conflict as utterly sinful but disciples his readers through biblical resolution, restoring relationships that are currently in conflict and helps us build a God-honoring framework for dealing with conflict in the future. He does a superb job of this, communicating as if he were sitting across from you at your local area Starbucks speaking the truth in love to you and tenderly discipling you toward love and good deeds.

Ken goes about this in four parts or the four G’s of peacemaking:

  • Glorify God (I Cor. 10:31)
  • Get the Log out of Your Eye (Matt. 7:5)
  • Gently Restore (Gal. 6:1)
  • Go and be Reconciled (Matt. 5:24)

The chief of all of these, and perhaps the reason for its placement as first, is Glorifying of God. This is the most important aspect of understanding biblical conflict and making steps toward resolution. We are called to glorify God in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Ken reminds us that conflict provides opportunity to be true peacemakers rather than breaking peace or faking peace. One of the most valuable tools that Ken uses is his model of The Slippery Slope of peacemaking.

PEACE FAKING: Those of us that find ourselves on the left side of the slippery slope tend to deny that there is conflict at all, wrongly thinking that any kind of conflict is dangerous or thinking that it will damage relationships beyond hope. All of these escape responses are counter productive to unity in the body and glorifying God.

PEACE BREAKING: Those finding that they tend to lash out in anger either physically or with words, slide this way when faced with conflict. These folks tend to see conflict as an opportunity to assert themselves or defend their rights. Ultimately these individuals are more interested in being right than considering others as more important than themselves. The ultimate extreme here would be murder. Before we write that off as impossible, let us all stand guilty under the Lord’s words in Matt 5:21-22 “…everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable.”

PEACEMAKING: These responses are commanded by God. The first three responses are the personal peacekeeping responses. The principle here is to overlook the offense. Proverbs 19:11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. The next three Peacemaking responses are called assisted peacemaking. If two people are unable to come to reconciliation on their own, they may need to seek out wise counsel to assist them in the process.

Sanctification doesn’t happen in a bubble. The Lord brings situations and people into our lives to expose our sin. The question is, when that ugly monster sin shows himself will you take the opportunity to wage war with him or will you feed him and pretend that he is not dangerous? What are you doing now? Who is it that the Lord has brought to mind even as you have been reading? Will you leave your offering and go and be reconciled or will you continue the charade? If you need to be reconciled with someone or you recognize that conflict is the theme of one or more of your relationships, then go and pick up a copy of Ken Sande’s book
The Peacemaker. Start today, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

May God be glorified in all your relationships!

Blessings,

Alvin

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2 Responses to “Peace-Breaking, Peace-Faking, or Peace-Making”

  1. Daniel said

    Nice post. And I wish what you said was true about most Christians. However, what I see, particularly among conservative, so-called Bible-believing Christians (although, they really don’t seem to do this) is that they bring about the most problems. 50 and 60 years ago, the conservative Christians were the most bigoted, hate-filled people, denying the inherent justice of the civil rights movement, and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept the God-given equality of all people in the eyes of God. Even today, Sunday morning is STILL the most segregated day of the week (and yes, blacks as well as whites are guilty of this).

    Moreover, going back to Vietnam and continuing with the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the conservative, so-called Bible-believing Christians have hardly said word one against the OBSCENITY of war. Uh, what part did I miss about Christ calling ALL OF US to love our enemies? What part did I miss about Christ saying if someone offends you, to turn the other cheek? I don’t remember ANYWHERE in the New Testament about Jesus (or for that matter even Paul or the others) calling on any nation to go out and build an empire through warfare.

    Also, where has the church been as far as caring for the homeless and the poor in America? I haven’t heard ANY conservative church leaders say word one about doing a darned thing to help end this national discrace in the richest country in the history of the planet. We go along like it is ok and acceptable and all right, while supposed “Christians” have two and three cars, vacation homes, flat screen TVs, and make tons of money. Meanwhile there are people in America who are living on the streets (and no, it is not by choice, despite what Fox News says). There are people who cannot get SSI disability because it is federal policy to deny people’s claims for 2 years until they are forced to go to federal court.

    I realize I am being long-winded, but the church sits back and talks only about who is having sex with who and in what position and whether in or out of marriage and whether gay or straight. You know what, I think WE need to take the STICK out of our EYE (and our BACKSIDE) and wake up to what is really important!!! People are dying in our country and our planent and we are worrying about stupid stuff! Like, oh, if evolution is true or not. Note to people. 500 years ago the church thought that Galileo was wrong about the earth NOT being the center of the universe. Uh, he was RIGHT. It took the church until 20 years ago to APOLOGIZE to him. But, hey, he just had a “theory”. It is stupid stuff like this that upsets people and the lack of RELEVANCE in their lives that is making people reject the church and Christianity. And with that I will sign off.

    • bethelgrace said

      Daniel,
      Thanks for your interest in Christocentric. Sounds like you have a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Can I encourage you? Set up a blog and pick just one topic at a time-and allow those who are interested to interact with your thoughts, in a more organized manner. I’ll do my best to give a brief thought or two on your various topics.

      “50 and 60 years ago, the conservative Christians were the most bigoted, hate-filled people, denying the inherent justice of the civil rights movement, and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept the God-given equality of all people in the eyes of God.”

      We need to be careful in speaking in such all inclusive absolute terms. There have been countless Christians through the years that have spoken out against slavery. Let’s remember dear William Wilberforce who said “So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”
      Christians have followed his lead right through even the Jim Crow law days in America speaking out against segregation. Consider the following from TIME magazine dated May, 6, 1957: Testimony that the South’s Protestant churches have not totally ignored the race issue came from Dr. Herman Long, director of the race relations department of the Board of Home Missions of the Congregational Christian Churches. He estimated that there is a minimum of 160 unsegregated Christian churches in the South.
      “Moreover, going back to Vietnam and continuing with the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the conservative, so-called Bible-believing Christians have hardly said word one against the OBSCENITY of war. Uh, what part did I miss about Christ calling ALL OF US to love our enemies? What part did I miss about Christ saying if someone offends you, to turn the other cheek? I don’t remember ANYWHERE in the New Testament about Jesus (or for that matter even Paul or the others) calling on any nation to go out and build an empire through warfare.”

      Here we should recognize the difference between what the Bible has to say about the individual and the government. The individual Christian acting on his authority should turn the other cheek. To the government who has been given the sword, however, the Bible says: Romans 13:1-4 (ESV) 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

      “Also, where has the church been as far as caring for the homeless and the poor in America? I haven’t heard ANY conservative church leaders say word one about doing a darned thing to help end this national discrace in the richest country in the history of the planet. We go along like it is ok and acceptable and all right, while supposed “Christians” have two and three cars, vacation homes, flat screen TVs, and make tons of money. Meanwhile there are people in America who are living on the streets (and no, it is not by choice, despite what Fox News says). There are people who cannot get SSI disability because it is federal policy to deny people’s claims for 2 years until they are forced to go to federal court.”

      Once again we need to be careful not to speak in generalities. There are many churches that come along side various mercy mission ministries. If you are a Christian, find a church that is doing that sort of thing and join in. However, the resources and energy of the “church” as far as leadership and Pastors/Elders should be focused on equipping the saints for the work of the ministry. It is then the individual believers, pastors/elders included, that do the work of the ministry. The real question is where is the “church” in evangelism and serving people the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The social gospel is really no gospel at all. Jesus fed the 5000 but He also taught them of the Kingdom of God.

      “Evolution… Note to people. 500 years ago the church thought that Galileo was wrong about the earth NOT being the center of the universe. Uh, he was RIGHT. It took the church until 20 years ago to APOLOGIZE to him. But, hey, he just had a “theory”.”

      Evolution is a far cry from what Galileo postulated. Evolution is antithetical to biblical Christianity and isn’t even science. The religion of evolution has it’s root in secular humanism and is, at it’s very core, an attempt to supply a theory for the foolish presupposition of atheism.

      “It is stupid stuff like this that upsets people and the lack of RELEVANCE in their lives that is making people reject the church and Christianity.”

      People reject God and His word because of sin. Romans 1:18-20 (ESV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
      What can be more relevant than; John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
      No one can be saved outside of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The problem comes in when people who are not Christians want the Bible to “speak to them” when all the while they reject Jesus Christ as the one thing necessary in life and eternal life. Like a little boy in the emergency room with a wooden stake through the head, all the while he is shouting about a splinter in his finger. Teachers of the Word of God need to push aside splinters and give attention to the mortal wound of sin and the coming wrath of God urging men to repent and trust Jesus for His salvation.

      Daniel-Due to the high demand of ministry and the spiritual needs of my church and my community I need to set up some limits for myself in regard to blog responses. In the future I will need to limit my responses to comments directly related to blog posts.
      Thanks.
      Blessings, Alvin.

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