Resurrection: Accepting the Consequences of God’s Greatest Act of Peacemaking

Resurrection: Accepting the Consequences of God’s Greatest Act of Peacemaking By David Edling, Senior Ministry Consultant (retired) for Peacemaker Ministries If you are familiar with Peacemaker Ministries’ materials, you know that “accept the consequences” is one of the Seven A’s of Confession. When we confess our sin completely, we show that our confession is sincere by taking responsibility for the harm we have caused. In other words, we willingly “accept the consequences.” Similarly, when we confess Christ as our Lord and Savior, we show that our profession of faith is sincere by accepting the consequences. But what does that really mean? As Easter approaches, I have been thinking about how accepting God’s gift of eternal life in Christ also means accepting the “consequence” that it was my sin that made Christ’s death on the cross necessary. Realizing this was, for me, the first step in recognizing my need for a Savior who could completely and effectively take responsibility for my sin and its harmful effects. The sacrifice for my sin could not be borne by me, but only by the One who knew no sin. Therefore, only Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb, could be offered as an acceptable sacrifice, reconciling me with God the Father (see Revelation 5). This is the gospel—the good news that the consequences of my sins are paid for and forgiven in Christ, because he alone is worthy. All who have stopped trusting in their own worthless sacrifice and have placed their trust in Christ for eternal life know this to be true. But how often do we stop to think about the other consequence, the present consequence of...

Sample Detailed Response (Case 4)

(Review Scenario) Note: This response is much more detailed than a person would write when he or she is just beginning to study biblical peacemaking. Don’t be discouraged if your answer is much shorter than this one. Instead, thank God that there is so much practical guidance in his Word for you to learn and apply in the weeks ahead. Have you ever had people look to you for help in resolving a conflict such as the one between Chris and Terry? Sometimes it seems there is nothing we can do. Each person’s position sounds reasonable! And we are afraid of appearing to favor one position over the other—and ending up offending at least one of them. Fortunately, God’s Word provides wise and relevant guidance to help bring a mutually satisfying resolution to the conflict. Peacemaker Ministries has organized this rich biblical wisdom into training and resources that equip people to guide others in reaching agreement, a process that is often called mediation. A wonderful starting place for every Christian is our booklet, Guiding People through Conflict. This practical, “nuts-and-bolts” resource is designed to provide relevant tools in response to opportunities like the one presented by Chris and Terry. Where do you start? A good framework for your preparation is to build around what are called the “Three P’s” of satisfaction. The first “P” is to make sure that both Chris and Terry are satisfied with the process, or have process satisfaction. Have each of them had a chance to fully explain his or her side of the story? Have they had a chance to respond to each other?...

Sample Detailed Response (Case 3)

(Review Scenario) Note: This response is much more detailed than a person would write when he or she is just beginning to study biblical peacemaking. Don’t be discouraged if your answer is much shorter than this one. Instead, thank God that there is so much practical guidance in his Word for you to learn and apply in the weeks ahead. Dear ________, Thank you for taking the time to describe your circumstance in such detail. You have obviously been thinking about this seriously, and from your letter I can tell that you understand that your response will have profound and lasting consequences. It is humbling to have you trust me enough to share your struggle and ask for my counsel. My prayer is that God will continue to lead you as he has promised, and that he will give me wisdom as I reply. I have found that the best way to think biblically when I am challenged by conflict is to deliberately apply the Peacemaker Ministries framework — the 4 G’s — that we have been learning in our small group study. By doing this, you are more likely to ask yourself the right questions and take steps that will lead toward reconciliation. Glorify God Can you commit to me that you will daily pray that God will give you a desire to “shine a light on Him” during every step in this process? Whenever we’re in a conflict our response either draws attention to our circumstances and ourselves or draws attention toward the living God. You will start off on a solid footing by moving forward in...

Sample Detailed Response (Case 2)

(Review Scenario) Note: This response is much more detailed than a person would write when he or she is just beginning to study biblical peacemaking. Don’t be discouraged if your answer is much shorter than this one. Instead, thank God that there is so much practical guidance in his Word for you to learn and apply in the weeks ahead. Dear ________, I am honored that you would seek my advice with such an important family matter. If you had asked me about this a few months ago, I would probably have urged you to follow your instincts and avoid Susan for a few weeks! But I have recently been studying how to respond to conflict using God’s principles, so I want to suggest a different response. I’ve enclosed a Peacemaker Brochure for you. It is a great summary of the basic principles of biblical peacemaking that I have been learning and practicing. You can find more information about this at Peacemaker Ministries’ website (www.Peacemaker.net), starting with the Slippery Slope and Foundational Principles pages. In the brochure is a diagram called the “Slippery Slope of Conflict.” Do you see the left side of the diagram? Your desire to stay clear of Susan could put you in the “escape zone,” which will only delay resolving your differences. Worse yet, Susan might confront you when you’re not ready for it, which could move you both into the “attack zone” — sharp or defensive words will only make things worse. If even one person in a conflict responds to a conflict in the “peacemaking zone,” a lot of grief can be avoided. I...

Sample Detailed Response (Case 1)

(Review Scenario)  Note: This response is much more detailed than a person would write when he or she is just beginning to study biblical peacemaking. Don’t be discouraged if your answer is much shorter than this one. Instead, thank God that there is so much practical guidance in his Word for you to learn and apply in the weeks ahead. Dear ________, I was sorry to learn that you are involved in such a difficult conflict. It really hurts when someone else says false or unkind things about you, especially in front of others. My natural reaction to such attacks has been to immediately defend myself and focus on the other person’s wrongs. But God is helping me to see how unproductive that reaction is. He is steadily teaching me how to be a peacemaker, which has completely changed the way I respond to conflict. Most of what I’ve learned is described in the enclosed Peacemaking Principles Pamphlet, which summarizes the basic principles of biblical peacemaking. You can find similar information at Peacemaker Ministries’ website (www.Peacemaker.net), starting with the Slippery Slope and Foundational Peacemaking Principles pages. One of the surprising things I’ve learned is that biblical peacemaking doesn’t mean passively giving in to others or a “let’s-just-all-get-along” kind of compromising. It actually takes a lot more wisdom, courage, and effort than anything else I’ve done. But it’s worth the effort! The Bible’s teaching on conflict resolution may be organized under four key principles (sometimes called the Four G’s): Glorify God, Get the log out of your own eye, Gently Restore, and Go and be reconciled. I want to write some...