Peacemeal – October 10, 2007…The Faith That Forgiveness Requires

The Faith That Forgiveness Requires Above all else, remember that true forgiveness depends on God’s grace. If you try to forgive others on your own, you are in for a long and frustrating battle. But if you ask God to change your heart and you continually rely on his grace, you can forgive even the most painful offenses. God’s grace was powerfully displayed in the life of Corrie ten Boom, who had been imprisoned with her family by the Nazis for giving aid to Jews early in World War II. Her elderly father and beloved sister, Betsie, died as a result of the brutal treatment they received in prison. God sustained Corrie through her time in a concentration camp, and after the war she traveled throughout the world, testifying to God’s love. Here is what she wrote about a remarkable encounter in Germany: It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there–the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,” he said. “To think that, as you say, he has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendall about the need to forgive, kept my hand...

Peacemeal – October 17, 2007…Even The Small Peaces

Even The Small Peaces Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. Matthew 10:29   To be sovereign means to be supreme, unlimited, and totally independent of any other influence.  God alone has such power (Ps. 86:10; Isa. 46:9-10).  The Bible teaches that God’s dominion is so great that he has ultimate control over all things.  His sovereignty extends over both creation and preservation (Ps. 135:6-7; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 4:11).  He rules over all governments (Prov. 21:1; Dan 2:20-21; 4:35).  He alone controls individual lives and destinies (Jer. 18:6; John 6:39; Rom. 9:15-16; 15:32; Eph. 1:11-12; James 4:15).  At the same time, he watches over events as small as a sparrow’s fall from a tree (Matt. 10:29). Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 60 Food for Thought Big or small, God is over all. Sovereign.  Supreme.  Unlimited.  Those are words that speak of power and might and greatness.  They describe our Father who art in heaven and rightly so.  Ken reminds us that we serve a God who is “totally independent of any other influence.”  It’s reassuring to know that our great and mighty God is fully involved in bringing peace to situations and circumstances too big for us – the BIG peaces.  Peace in Jerusalem.  Peace in Darfur.  Peace in inner city New York. But it’s humbling to remember that our great and mighty God is also totally committed to bringing peace to those places...

Peacemeal – October 24, 2007…Do Nothing Equals Something

Doing Nothing Equals Something  Forgive us our debts…Matthew 6:12  In fact, we can sin against God by omission — by doing nothing.  As James 4:17 tells us, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”  Therefore, if we are involved in a conflict and neglect opportunities to serve others (by failing to bear their burdens, gently restore them, etc.), we are guilty of sin in God’s eyes. Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 119 Food for Thought By neglecting to do good, we end up neglecting God.  Have you ever been in a situation and you just knew you were being asked to do something good, say something good, be something good — but you didn’t do it, say it, or be it?  No doubt we all have.  In the wake of those moments, we often feel like we’ve neglected someone.  But how often do we live with the awareness that we’ve neglected God in those moments? When we do something unto the least of our brothers or sisters, we’re doing it as unto the Lord.  And when we don’t something unto the least of our brothers and sisters, we’re not doing it unto the Lord.  Omission by another name is neglect.  And neglect in God’s eyes is sin. Sincerely confess it to God, and ask him to help you to “do good” in that relationship in the future. Resources To Help You Respond to Conflict Biblically The Young Peacemaker is a powerful system that parents and teachers...

Peacemeal – October 31. 2007…E-mail: The Relationship Blowtorch

E-mail: The Relationship Blowtorch  Letters can sometimes serve a useful purpose. If the other person has refused to respond positively to telephone calls or personal conversations, a brief letter may be the only way to invite further communication. If you must resort to communicating by letter, write as personally and graciously as possible. Avoid quoting numerous Bible references, or you will seem to be preaching. Also, at least during initial letters, do not try to explain or justify your conduct in writing, because it will probably be misunderstood. Use your letter to invite communication, and try to leave detailed explanations for a personal conversation. If time allows, set aside the first draft of a letter for a day or two. When you reread it, you may catch words that will do more harm than good. Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 174 Food for Thought Have you ever heard the story about the serious disagreement that was brought to a happy ending when one person wrote a long, powerful e-mail to the other person? Neither have we. And that ought to give us pause. E-mail and letters are great for starting fights and deepening disagreements but far worse at resolving conflicts. Why is that? The desire to resolve conflict via the written word is usually rooted in two convictions: First, that we need to choose our words carefully (more carefully than we might in person), and second, that if we could just get the other person to listen carefully and attentively to our perspective,...

Peacemeal – November 7, 2007…But I Don’t See It!

But I Don’t SEE It!  Although we can be sure that God is always working for our good and the good of others, even through trials and suffering, we will not always know exactly what that good is. In many cases his ultimate purposes will not be evident for a long time. And in some situations his ways and objectives are simply too profound for us to comprehend, at least until we see God face to face (see Rom. 11:33-36). This should not diminish our confidence in him or our willingness to obey him, however. As Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”   This passage provides the key to dealing faithfully with painful and unjust situations. God may not tell us everything we want to know about the painful events of life, but he has already told us all we need to know. Therefore, instead of wasting time and energy trying to figure out things that are beyond our comprehension, we need to turn our attention to the promises and instructions that God has revealed to us through Scripture. Taken from  The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 64-65 Food for Thought Does believing that God works for your good in a conflict depend on your ability to see what that good is?  What happens to your belief if you don’t see that good for several weeks, months, years…...