Peacemaking is a large part of being a biblical counselor or discipler. Have you been in the position to be a peacemaker yet? In the Beatitudes, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). As always, we must apply truth to our own hearts first.
We are called by God, all of us are, to “go and be reconciled” with one another (Matthew 5:24). The desire to do so is an evidence of the very presence of the Holy Spirit within us. How many of your relationships are out of order? How many have discord and animosity as a rule rather than the exception?
Our very position in Christ is based upon reconciliation, and as we have been gifted a forgiveness that we do not deserve! We have been forgiven based on the grace of God, not on our own worth or any penance we have done. Our response to such wonderful grace is to forgive as we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13).
I confess that peacemaking is not always easy for me. My flesh still desires to be vindicated when I am wronged! I would much rather defend my position and redeem my reputation than allow myself to be falsely accused or slandered. These types of betrayals seem to be the worst.
There have been a few times in my ministry that I have been betrayed by people in the church whom I loved and trusted. This betrayal hurt so badly because those people were my family, part of my eternal family that I loved and respected.
The truth is people we have no relationship with really cannot hurt us; they cannot betray us to the extent that our loved ones can. This causes us to withdraw and want to hold people at an arms length and have only superficial relationships with people.
Have you noticed your pastor’s wife? Many pastor’s wives do not have close friendships but only acquaintances in the church. There is a reason for that! Many have been so deeply hurt over the years by those who befriended them but eventually turned on them and their husband, resulting in leaving the church. After a while it seems easier to have only superficial relationships because they will not hurt as much. How sad!
Sisters in Christ, this should not be the case in our churches. The church is to be the example for the world of love and compassion and sacrifice. How we have miserably failed in many circumstances…
Peacemaking is a calling for every Christian, the counselor, discipler, or layperson. Each one of us has a responsibility before God to apply biblical theology for conflict resolution in our homes and our churches, our families and our church family. To refuse to do so is frankly shameful and disgraces the name of Christ, the ultimate Peacemaker.
From time to time we are all called on to be peacemakers. You may be asked to settle a dispute between others or you may be involved in a broken relationship with someone and have to be a peacemaker in your own situation.
Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker, is a wonderful tool for those who want to take the command of Jesus seriously when it comes to reconciling relationships. You will find his principles for peacemaking here, applied to real situations where they have been applied.
Sande says that the first thing that is necessary is a desire to glorify God. The desire to glorify God has to mean more to us than being right, being vindicated, receiving an apology, or taking revenge. It often seems that the latter choices are the goals in a conflict between Christians. No wonder some say it is hard to tell us apart from the world!
1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that we are to glorify God in all things, even those common things like eating and drinking! If Paul thought to mention such base actions like the intake of food and beverage as actions that must glorify God, then it stands to reason that our other actions must carry a heavier weight in His eyes.
In conflict it is easy to be carried away by the emotions and desires that are fed by the thoughts and beliefs that originate in our hearts. Especially when we are feeling hurt and betrayed. It is so important that we keep our thoughts focused on how we can respond righteously in spite of how we feel!
This is most difficult then we have been betrayed, misunderstood, or attacked. I have been falsely accused of some things by a person within the church in the past. The hardest part for me has been to hold the line of righteousness, and I confess that I have not always done that very well. The point I wish to make is that my failure to respond righteously was not due to inadequacy in the Holy Spirit and His power in my life, because He has enabled me to glorify God even in the midst of such wrongful accusations.
In the end, will it matter what I have been accused of? Not really as this world is a temporary place, and I will go on to meet Jesus one day. What will live on is whether or not I glorified God on earth and the impact my life made on others for the Kingdom of God. Have you glorified God in the midst of conflict?