You Can Stop the Killing

You Can Stop the Killing  Reflections on the Virginia Tech Tragedyby Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries The dreadful massacre at Virginia Tech leaves every one of us feeling stunned, confused, and grieving. But you don’t have to sit there feeling helpless; there are things you can do to stop the killing. Even as we join in the outpouring of tears, mourning, and prayers for those who have suffered so terribly, we can find incredibly relevant guidance as we listen to the words of Jesus, who spoke about a similar tragedy 2000 years ago. Luke 13:1-5 says: Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Note that Jesus refuses to attribute suffering directly to a person’s sinfulness, as some people are inclined to do (see John 9:1-3). He also declines to explain why God allows such tragedies to occur. His holy Word had already declared, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God” (Deut. 29:29). As the one who would one day suffer the greatest pain and injustice the world could ever know, Jesus modeled a complete trust that our heavenly...

The Cross and Criticism

The Cross and CriticismThis article originally appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of The Journal of Biblical Counseling, (Vol. 17, No. 3) and is reprinted by permission. It is also available in booklet form.by Dr. Alfred J. Poirier, former Chairman of the Board of Directors for Peacemaker Ministries Culture of Peace Booklets Short and easy-to-read booklets provide “bite-sized morsels” on topics related to biblical peacemaking—perfect for giving away to friends and family members! $1.75/ea more info On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger and its crew embarked on a mission to broaden educational horizons and promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. The most outstanding objective of the Challenger 51-L mission was the delivery of educational lessons from space by teacher Christa McAuliffe. A lesson was, indeed, delivered, but not one which anyone expected.Just 75 seconds after liftoff, tragedy struck. Before a watching world the shuttle suddenly erupted overhead, disintegrating the cabin along with its crew. The debris of metal, blood and bones plummeted to earth, along with our nation’s glory. What had gone wrong? That was the pressing question everyone asked. As teams of researchers examined the wreckage, the specific cause was soon found. The problem was with the O-rings (circular rubber seals), which had been designed to fit snugly into the joints of the booster engine sections. Evidently, the O-rings had become defective under adverse conditions, and the resulting mechanical failure led to the tragedy. Was that the whole story? The truth eventually got out. The New York Times put it frankly: the ultimate cause of the space shuttle disaster was pride. A group of top managers failed to...

Putting Professionals in their Place

Putting Professionals in their PlaceThis article originally appeared in the November 1993 issue of Covenanter Witness.by Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries Resolving Everyday Conflict Small group Bible study that’s perfect for use in the church or workplace. Ideal for Sunday school classes, membership classes, mission teams, or neighborhood Bible studies—any group that wants to learn, discuss, and apply the principles of biblical peacemaking together. Church Price: $199.00 more info Americans are infatuated with professionals. Every year we seem to turn more and more of our lives over to people who are perceived to be experts because they have obtained special education, certification, or recognition in their fields.Obviously, professionals are a blessing in many ways. They have taken the time to study and master principles of science, medicine, law, finances, and other fields that the rest of us do not have the time or inclination to fathom. Whether they care for our bodies, businesses, homes, or cars, the professionals’ expertise often allows them to discern problems and implement solutions more quickly and effectively than could the average layman. Our dependence on professionals has created some significant problems, however. The more we depend on others to manage certain aspects of our lives, the easier it is for us to delegate to them responsibilities that we could and should handle on our own. This is particularly true when it comes to conflict resolution. This point was vividly illustrated in a video I watched that promotes “peer mediation” training in public schools. Recognizing the serious problems our schools are having with violent conflict, the organization that produced this tape has developed a...

Keeping the Peace – Writing E-mail that will not Stir up Conflict

Keeping the Peace – Writing E-mail that will not Stir up ConflictThis article was orginally printed in Christianity Online (Spring 2000, Volume 1, No. 4) and is reprinted by permission.by Carolyn McCulley Since it’s so difficult to read between the lines, it’s critical to be crystal clear in your e-communications. “Can you tell me the thinking behind this?” Peacemaking Women With personal stories and advice firmly rooted in Scripture, this book offers hope for peace with God, peaceful relationships with others, and genuine peace within. $13.95 more info The sentence resonated ominously across cyberspace. To the recipient, it dripped of condescending sarcasm. To the sender—me—it was a simple request for information. But there I was, not long into a new job, staring red-faced at the computer screen, fighting hot tears of embarrassment.I had received an e-mail from an esteemed colleague who was displeased with my previous e-mail correspondence, and was questioning my “tone.” Tone?! With no vocal cues or body language to set the “tone,” I wondered how I’d managed to communicate one. Should I have added a smiling emoticon, or would that have looked too much like a smirk? My mind raced back to other similar situations where e-mail had thrown a wrench into even simple communication. For a fleeting moment, I was tempted to announce a full-scale retreat from the online world. Instead, I wiped my tears and pursued no-tech, face-to-face biblical reconciliation. Unfortunately, my experience with misconstrued e-mail is not unique. Ken Sande, founder of Peacemaker Ministries and author of The Peacemaker, says e-mail has added an extra wrinkle in business and personal communications. As a...

Is it a Time for War or a Time for Peace?

Is it a Time for War or a Time for Peace?by Ken Sande, Founder of Peacemaker Ministries Culture of Peace Booklets Short and easy-to-read booklets provide “bite-sized morsels” on topics related to biblical peacemaking—perfect for giving away to friends and family members! $1.75/ea more info The dreadful terrorist attacks on September 11 have left millions of people around the world wrestling with crushing grief and profound questions. Chief among these questions is, “How should we respond to these evil acts?”This question is especially challenging for those who follow Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. He commanded that we love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. He also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” These are hard teachings in the aftermath of an attack that has killed thousands of people. Our President and many others have declared this to be a war, and warned us that more people will die before it is over. So, is this a time for peacemaking or a time for war? The answer can be both. But how can both paths be right, especially when they seem to go in opposite directions? Both can be right, because God himself has assigned different paths to different people. The Bible teaches that God has delegated some of his authority to civil governments and assigned them the responsibility of promoting justice, protecting their people from aggressors, and punishing those who do wrong (see Isa. 1:17; Rom. 13:1-4; 1 Pet. 2:13-14). This is a heavy responsibility, especially when it involves the exercise of lethal force—but without this restraint, evil would run rampant and innocent people would...