The Dance

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Ron Kraybill, a respected Christian mediator, has noted that “effective confrontation is like a graceful dance from supportiveness to assertiveness and back again.” This dance may feel awkward at first for those who are just learning it, but perseverance pays off. With God’s help you can learn to speak the truth in love by saying only what will build others up, by listening responsibly to what others say, and by using principles of wisdom.


Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 183

Food for Thought

Have you given up aspects of biblical peacemaking because you kept stepping on someone’s toes?

Even if you have never watched Dancing with the Stars, at some point in your life, you’ve probably seen a couple on the dance floor, and it captured your attention. And even if you’re not the biggest fan of dancing, you had to admit to a grace and beauty before your eyes; a fluid motion that took weeks, months, and possibly even years to achieve. The perseverance paid off.

As we learn the steps of confrontation (a necessary step in peacemaking), it’s wise to remember that it takes time. It may take days or weeks or months or even years to learn those rhythms of speaking the truth and listening intently and proceeding wisely. It may feel awkward at first. Repeat that again — it may feel awkward at first. But if we let God take the lead (that’s always His role) and commit ourselves to following His lead, something of grace and beauty can emerge — it’s called the dance of peacemaking. It has the power to capture the attention of a watching world. Perseverance will always pay off.

Curious About Training?

Ever wondered what our training is about or what you’d learn if you attended? Check out our new video overview for our training to get an idea of what we do and how we might serve you:

Training Promo from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.

Our training courses are designed to supplement and build upon the basic principles of peacemaking, which are given to us in Scripture. This training is an integral part of embedding peace into your church, your vocation, and indeed, into every aspect of your life through a Gospel-centered Biblical approach to conflict resolution. Students learn how to assist others resolve conflict according to biblical principles and applying the Gospel to their specific situation.

The Peacemaker’s Privilege – Reconciliation of a Family Conflict

By Annette Friesen, Conciliation and Training Specialist at Peacemaker Ministries. Taken from our latest edition of Reconciled

There are times when the opportunity to serve reminds us what it was like to first learn God’s peacemaking principles and the incredible power contained in them. A recent weekend experience was one of those times for me.

I had the privilege of leading a Peacemaker Seminar, but before I even arrived, I knew it might be just a bit different. I had been told that four “conflicted” sisters would be at the event—a conflict had erupted years ago that had been devastating to their family life and was severely damaging their collective witness to the cause of Christ. Yet they were all going to be at this seminar, willing to hear words of hope and see a practical, God-honoring path toward reconciliation.

As we began the teaching, to build a foundation for the peacemaking principles, we spent quite a bit of time unpacking the context of Matthew 18—examples of God’s great grace and mercy and ultimately unpacking the gospel and how it applies to our relationships (and our conflicts). I was reminded again how much people resonate with the truth of the God’s Word!

During a break, one of the sisters came up to me and said she thought her two sisters (who were at the center of the conflict) were ready to try to be reconciled. But they needed my help. Would I be willing to stay afterward to help them? Of course I agreed.

I finished the teaching, grateful for how God had worked. One woman told me she had been scared to come because the woman she was in conflict with was in the room. Yet after the first session, her heart was totally at peace and ready to hear what God had for her. She knew now what to do. Two other women—one African-American and one white—held an impromptu “reconciliation session” to heal over an offense between the two. Many more expressed their thanks.

But soon after the seminar was over, I was hustled off to a room to begin the sisters’ quickly-arranged mediation. After clarifying what we were doing, setting some basic ground-rules, and separating out the sisters not in conflict (they watched from the side), the two began to share.

Nearly three hours later, emotions were still running high as we moved toward making an apology. I was praying—I honestly didn’t know how this was going to end. Finally, with more hard work, we reached a point where they could begin to apologize to one another. One sister made a sincere apology, but the other struggled. That sister began by acknowledging what she had heard, but had trouble taking ownership of any specific wrongdoing. I asked gently if she believed she had done anything wrong, and she was honest in saying she struggled. With a little help, she was able to move on to a genuine apology.

It wasn’t until they made the Four Promises of Forgiveness to each other that the dam broke. With tears running down their faces, they both continued to confess and extend forgiveness, hugging one another. The two watching sisters hugged and cried, too, and then, unable to contain themselves, rushed across the room for a group hug. This went on for about five minutes while I slowly packed up, gratitude flooding my heart for God allowing me to witness His precious and beautiful work of reconciliation in the lives of those women that day.

The next day, I was approached by oldest sister, who said that after the mediation their evening together was precious and just like old times. She simply couldn’t thank me enough.

So whether you are someone who helps others in conflict or someone who could use some help, let this story be an encouragement to you. God’s Word is powerful—it penetrates the heart, “opens blind eyes” and brings about reconciliation. And it’s a joy and privilege when you get to see it happen in right in front of you

Overlook Offenses (But Don’t Overlook This Message!)

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Since God does not deal harshly with us when we sin, we should be willing to treat others in a similar fashion. This does not mean that we must overlook all sins, but it does require that we ask God to help us discern and overlook minor wrongs.

Overlooking offenses is appropriate under two conditions. First, the offense should not have created a wall between you and the other person or caused you to feel differently toward him or her for more than a short period of time. Second, the offense should not be causing serious harm to God’s reputation, to others, or to the offender.


Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 82-83

Food for Thought

Overlooking offenses isn’t just an issue in interpersonal relationships. It’s also an issue that crops up between nations, political parties, cultures, and, yes, even churches. Sometimes personal offenses that should be overlooked end up making the headlines. Pick up today’s newspaper (or go to an Internet news site) and look at the front page. Are any of the stories rooted in a failure to overlook an offense? Can you think of other current events that arose out of a failure to overlook? Pick one of these “non-overlooked offense” incidents and take a moment to pray for the “offended” party (for grace to overlook the offense) and the “offender” (for grace to respond in a way that de-escalates conflict).

Then ask yourself if there are any recent offenses against you that you should have overlooked but instead, you have escalated? Offer confession to God and pray for his wisdom in “de-escalating” the conflict.

Get 40% Off on Select Books Through July 31st!


For a limited time, we’re offering select books in our webstore at 40% off.

Books include a lot of CCEF books including When People Are Big and God is Small and How People Change. Also including are some great books for gifting like When Sinner’s Say “I Do”, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, and Marriage Matters.

Check out our webstore for more information or to order. Discount will be reflected at time of check-out and sale ends July 31st.

The Key to Living With a Painful Situation

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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 Romans 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. The Bible tells us that God is both sovereign and good, so we can be sure that whatever he has brought into our lives can be used to glorify him, to benefit others, and to help us to grow.


Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 64


Food for Thought

Are you living with a painful situation? Is there a situation in your life that you just don’t understand why it has transpired in the way it has?

As you trust God with the “secret things,” first remember all he has already done for you through Christ. Then focus your attention on obeying his revealed will, and you will experience greater peace within yourself (Psalm 131; Isaiah 26:3) and serve him more effectively as a peacemaker (Proverbs 3:5-7).

Help Us Send People From Around the World to Our Conference…Online!

From Chip Zimmer, Vice President of Global Ministries

The Leadership at Peacemaker Ministries would like to invite you to participate in a special giving project aimed at expanding global impact. Please click on the message below to hear a 3-minute story about how you can make a world of difference by providing a scholarship for someone from outside the U.S. to virtually attend our annual conference!

Please join us in helping those around the world participate in the 2013 Peacemaker Conference via the internet. To contribute, please visit our secure donation site. When completing the donation form please designate your gift for “Online Conference Access for Internationals.

We deeply appreciate your involvement with us. Because of you this vitally important message of God-glorifying relationship reconciliation to families, churches, and communities spreads out across the U.S. and into the entire world.

With Gratitude,


Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Heart

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“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21

As we have seen, an idol is any desire that has grown into a consuming demand that rules our hearts; it is something we think we must have to be happy, fulfilled, or secure. To put it another way, it is something we love, fear, or trust.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 109.


Food for Thought

This one’s really all about you.

Keep your eyes on your own paper. Do you remember hearing that in school, maybe right before or during a test? Sometimes it was a little hard, huh? But the teacher wanted you to do your own work and as we grow older, we see the benefit of that perspective. Or do we?

Take a discussion of idols, for instance. We could think through that for a moment, but more than likely, the overriding urge would be to consider what someone else idolizes. Yes, well, we all know that Rebecca…or You know, I’m convinced that James …

Keep your eyes on your own heart. What is it that is consuming you? What is the thing that you’re convinced will make you happy? What is it you are looking for to bring you the security you crave. Look deep within yourself, spend some time on your knees, and ask Christ to reveal those people, places or things you love, fear, or trust more than Him.

Bringing Hope Through the Gospel

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When someone has disappointed or offended us, our natural tendency often is to come at them with “the law,” lecturing them about what they have done wrong and what they should now do to make things right. This approach generally makes people defensive and reluctant to admit their wrongs, which makes a conflict worse.

But there is a better way to approach others about their failures. Instead of coming at them with the law, we can bring them the gospel. In other words, rather than dwelling on what people should do or have failed to do, we can learn to focus primarily on what God has done and is doing for them through Christ.


Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 162-163, 165


Food for Thought

Do you tend to be a “law-speaker” or “grace-speaker”?

Many times it is difficult to consistently weave the gospel into our conversations with others until the gospel is first woven deeply into our own hearts. Many of us are by nature “law-speakers”–we bring judgment much more easily than we bring grace. If that is you, pray that God would give you a major heart change, to make the gospel central to everything you think, say and do. Pray that God will open your eyes more fully to the glory of what Christ has done for you. Learn to delight in reading about, meditating on, and rejoicing in Jesus’ completed work on the cross. When your soul, your thoughts, and your conversation are saturated with the gospel, it will overflow into other areas of your life, bringing hope and encouragement to others.