| The Gospel: The Key to Peacemaking
The principles of biblical peacemaking have proven to be universally counter cultural. No matter what race or country we come from, none of us is naturally inclined to obey Jesus’ commands to love our enemies, confess our wrongs, gently correct others, submit to our church, and forgive those who hurt us. In fact, left to our own instincts, we are disposed to do just the opposite.
Fortunately, God has provided a way for us to overcome our innate weakness as peacemakers and learn to respond to conflict constructively. His solution is the gospel, the good news that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). God sent his Son to pay the price for our sins through his death and resurrection. When we believe this and put our trust in Jesus, God forgives all our sins. Through the gospel he also enables us to learn how to resist temptation, obey his commands, and live a life that honors him.
This wonderful news can radically change the way we respond to conflict. Through the gospel, the foundational G, the Lord enables us to live out the Four G’s of peacemaking. As we stand in awe of his matchless grace, we find more joy in glorifying God than in pursuing our own selfish ends. When we realize that God has mercy on those who confess their sins, our defensiveness lifts and we are able to admit our wrongs. As we accept and benefit from the way the gospel lovingly shows us our sin, we are inspired to gently correct and restore others who have done wrong. And as we rejoice in the liberating forgiveness of God, we are empowered to go and forgive others in the same way.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 13-14
Food for Thought
In the last paragraph above, Ken mentions four ways the Lord uses the gospel to enable us to live out the Four G’s of peacemaking. As Easter approaches, we tend to focus on the foundational G, the gospel, with renewed intensity. Remembering the death, burial, and ressurection of Christ should give us reason to restore those broken relationships in our lives. Reflecting on the great cost of our forgiveness should cause us to pursue reconciliation with others. As believers, we have been forgiven an enormous debt.
If you are facing conflict, God provides both the model and motivation for peacemaking through the gospel. Remember who God is, what he is like, and what he is doing in your life–then ask him to use you to show his love to others.
Resources to Help You Respond to Conflict Biblically
Our Culture of Peace series is a set of short and easy-to-read booklets on various interesting topics related to biblical peacemaking. They are inexpensive and fit into a standard #10 envelope, making them perfect for giving away to friends and family members. Order the booklets for just $1.95/each through our online bookstore or by calling our Resource line at 800-711-7118.
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