Please Break This Rule

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When our wrongs are too obvious to ignore, we practice what I call the 40/60 Rule. It goes something like this: “Well, I know I’m not perfect, and I admit I am partially to blame for this problem. I’d say that about 40 percent of the fault is mine. That means 60 percent of the fault is hers. Since she is 20 percent more to blame than I am, she should be the one to ask for forgiveness.” I never actually say or think these exact words, but I often catch myself resorting to this tactic in subtle ways. By believing that my sins have been more than cancelled by another’s sins, I can divert attention from myself and avoid repentance and confession.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 120.

Food for Thought

 

Jesus tells the perfect “40/60 Rule” story in Luke 18:10-14. In this passage, Luke says that Jesus addresses the story to those “who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.” This is the story:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Next time you’re tempted to invoke the 40/60 Rule to minimize your part in a conflict, remember that few subjects raise more disdain in Jesus than moderated mercy or a “righteousness ranking” where we give ourselves an unequivocal first place vote.

Oh, Be Careful Little Mouth

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Even a fool is thought wise…and discerning if he holds his tongue.”
Proverbs 17:28

Reckless words, spoken hastily and without thinking, inflame many conflicts. “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov. 12:18; cf. Prov. 13:3; 17:28; 21:23; 29:20). Although we may seldom set out deliberately to hurt others with our words, sometimes we do not make much of an effort not to hurt others. We simply say what comes to mind without thinking about the consequences. In the process, we may hurt and offend others, which only aggravates conflict.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by
Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 121.

Food for Thought

 

What have you said recently without thinking?

The word “reckless” usually conjures up images of someone driving a car with no concern for the people around them. A reckless driver can cause havoc on the highway, putting his or her life, as well as the lives of others, in harm’s way. If we spot someone driving recklessly, we usually grab our cell phones and alert the police. But what about someone speaking recklessly?

Simply saying what comes to mind can be looked upon as being authentic and honest. People admire the plain-speak quality and often promote folks who can do it. But it can also be looked upon as not thinking, or reckless. The lives of the one speaking and those hearing then are caught in harm’s way. And if you’re caught in harm’s way, the result is usually some kind of harm. Oh, be careful little mouth what you say.

The Latest Harvest Report is Here!

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It’s fascinating to use Google Earth to find your home. You click onto the internet and key in your address, then Google Earth zooms in–first to the continent, then your state, and finally your city and neighborhood until there it is: your home. Well, this Harvest Report is a zoomed-in snapshot of the impact, change, growth, significant happenings, and fruit of the work of Peacemaker Ministries throughout the world. We praise God for this work, and we praise him for you. For without your investment in this ministry, we simply could not continue to serve, educate, or train others. We could not help them address relational issues in a God-honoring, others-honoring manner.

Your investment in this work plants the gospel in relationships, producing the fruit of healthy and godly marriages, families, and churches across the country and throughout the world. I am excited about the new materials we are developing. New methods of delivering those materials will allow us to increase our witness and expand the reach and impact of the ministry in ways that are sustainable and repeatable. Consider this an open invitation to you, our friend and supporter, to connect with me personally so I can share some very exciting opportunities with you.

When we pull back and see the bigger picture, we know these moments of impact and change come because God reconciled us to himself. By his grace, we are drawn to him for redemption. When we “turn our eyes to Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” Help us as we help others to connect this story of amazing grace with their own stories and challenges. Great people like you further the work of peacemaking. Thank you for giving through your time, your teaching, your sharing, your conciliation, and your financial investment in the ministry. We are grateful.

Click through the link/graphic below to see the other exciting things that went on recently because friends like you support Peacemaker Ministries.

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Quarterly Harvest Report – February 2014

We covet your continued prayers and financial support as we seek to expand and deepen ministry to individuals, churches, and regional networks. If you are already a monthly donor, thank you! If you are not, would you consider becoming one? Monthly giving via direct deposit or automatic credit card payments is an efficient way for you to contribute and it helps the operations team manage the budget. Thank you for praying about this opportunity.

Serving Him,

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Dale Pyne
CEO

A Picture of Trust

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Therefore we do not lose heart.” 2 Cor. 4:16

Trusting God proved to be the pattern in Paul’s life. Even when the Lord did not immediately relieve his sufferings, Paul continued to view everything that happened to him as God’s sovereign will (2 Cor. 4:17-18). This doesn’t mean that Paul never had doubts or that he never asked God to relieve his suffering (2 Cor. 12:7-8). But when the Lord’s response did not match Paul’s request, he was willing to believe that God had something better in mind (vv. 9-10).

 

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 67

Food for Thought

 

Think of the last time the Lord’s response did not match your request.

What does trusting God look like? Ken reminds us that it doesn’t mean wearing a painted on smile when troubles come and practicing the art of denial when doubts arise. Those verses in 2 Cor. 12 show the apostle Paul “pleading” for God to take the thorn in his flesh away. So, then what does trusting God look like? “But when the Lord’s response did not match Paul’s request, he was”–what’s that next word? That’s right–“willing.”

Trusting looks like a willingness to believe in God’s goodness toward us in the middle of pleadings and tears and sufferings and doubts and questions. Trusting is choosing to believe that God desires the best for us, his children. That’s not always easy, but as Paul would attest, it’s always worth it!

At Least As Good As Before

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Being reconciled does not mean that the person who offended you must now become your closest friend. What it means is that your relationship will be at least as good as it was before the offense occurred. Once that happens, an even better relationship may develop. As God helps you and the other person work through your differences, you may discover a growing respect and appreciation for each other. Moreover, you may uncover common interests and goals that will add a deeper and richer dimension to your friendship.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 219

 

Food for Thought

 

When a relationship has been seriously damaged because one person violated another’s trust or deeply hurt the other person, how can that relationship be made “at least as good as it was before?”

The first step is to note that biblical reconciliation is not an effort by both parties to “make things exactly as they were before.” Clearly, things can never be the same again. However, for Christians, while the relationship will indeed be different on the other side of the offense, it can, by God’s grace, be “at least as good”–if not better.

While the repentance of the offending party is key in the reconciliation process, much of the “difference that makes better” does not come from the offending party’s repentance at all; in fact, it cannot. To look to the offending party for the fullness of reconciliation can only lead to grossly failed expectations at best and idolatry at worst (as we look for a person to do something that only God can do). Arguably, the most important move in reconciliation is when the offended party moves more deeply toward God and the cross of Christ.

When we, as offended parties, move toward the cross, our view of ourselves changes. Instead of seeing ourselves primarily as offended parties, we come to see ourselves as ones who have offended infinitely but been forgiven infinitely. Out of this identity, we find the resources to imitate God by offering rich and lavish forgiveness to those whose repentance (like ours to God) is weak, feeble, and woefully inadequate.