|“But peacemaking just won’t work in this situation!”
Unfortunately, many believers and their churches have not yet developed the commitment and ability to respond to conflict in a gospel-centered and biblically faithful manner. This is often because they have succumbed to the relentless pressure our secular culture exerts on us to forsake the timeless truths of Scripture and adopt the relativism of our postmodern age. Although many Christians and their churches believe they have held on to God’s Word as their standard for life, their responses to conflict, among other things, show that they have in fact surrendered much ground to the world. Instead of resolving differences in a distinctively biblical fashion, they often react to conflict with the same avoidance, manipulation, and control that characterize the world. In effect, both individually and congregationally, they have given in to the world’s postmodern standard, which is “What feels good, sounds true, and seems beneficial to me?”
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 15-16
Food for Thought
Biblical peacemaking should never be understood as a better way for you to win arguments where you’re “right”. It shouldn’t even be understood as a more likely way to get to the truth. One or both of those things may happen, but neither gets to the heart of why we engage in biblical peacemaking. Biblical peacemaking is at its core a recognition that even in the midst of an argument where we have a lot to lose and where our opponent may be entrenched in sin, the most important thing we can do is to bring glory to God through our conduct. It is an act of faith that out of this peacemaking witness, God can do things far beyond upholding the truth or vindicating us, though he will also do both these things eventually. The “thing far beyond” that peacemaking makes possible is redemption–especially of those trapped in sin.
Next time you find yourself tempted to say, “But peacemaking won’t work in this situation or with this person,” remember that what God and you are attempting to “work” may be two entirely different things.
Resources To Help You Respond to Conflict Biblically
The Peacemaking Church Resource Set is a three-part discipleship initiative designed to change the way you think about conflict and help your church on its journey toward a Culture of Peace. Included is a box for the pastor to inspire the church, a box for the small groups to enable your entire church to learn the basic principles of personal peacemaking, and a box to embed a peacemaking team into the life of the church. You can order it through our online bookstore or by calling our Resource line at 800-711-7118.
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