And with that he breathed on them and
said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20.22
Peacemakers are people who breathe grace. They draw continually on the goodness and power of Jesus Christ, and then they bring his love, mercy, forgiveness, strength, and wisdom to the conflicts of daily life. God delights to breathe his grace through peacemakers and use them to dissipate anger, improve understanding, promote justice, and encourage repentance and reconciliation.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 11
Food for Thought
When it comes to the believer’s breath on others, it’s usually one of two aromas — life or death. What does your breath smell like?
Have you ever been around someone with halitosis (bad breath)? Unless you have the patience of Job, most of us back up a little and suddenly remember an urgent appointment. Those with Job’s fortitude stick it out, digging around in their pockets for a mint. Now consider the phrase, holy halitosis. Have you ever been around someone with that? Everything from their denominational wardrobe to their Christian reading list screams HOLINESS. But when they open their mouths, it’s anything but grace they breathe; in fact, it’s usually some variation on the theme of condemnation.
Halitosis, of the natural kind, is usually connected in some way to what we’re taking in. A steady diet of onions or feta cheese and voila! — bad breath. A similar principle applies to the spiritual realm. As Ken writes, we must draw continually on the goodness and power of Jesus Christ. Drawing in, or breathing in, Christ’s goodness fills our spiritual lungs with the breath of Holy Spirit filled, lifesaving grace. Then our tanks are full, so to speak, to breathe out that same grace on and in the lives of others.
We’re as much peacebreathers as we are peacemakers. There’s a rhythm there as ancient as creation itself. Inhale and exhale. Breathe in and breathe out. Grace in and grace out. Do a little spiritual diagnosis on yourself, first, and then on others around you. If you find that you rarely breathe grace, it’s a red flag that you’re not taking any in. The same goes for people around you. The only difference is that if it’s you, then some time feasting on the riches of God’s grace is in order. Take. Eat. If it’s your neighbor, then you may be the vessel that God wants to use to bring grace and peace to a troubled soul, marriage, or household. Breathe on us, breath of God!
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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