Doing Nothing Equals Something

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Forgive us our debts…” Matthew 6:12

In fact, we can sin against God by omission — by doing nothing. As James 4:17 tells us, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Therefore, if we are involved in a conflict and neglect opportunities to serve others (by failing to bear their burdens, gently restore them, etc.), we are guilty of sin in God’s eyes.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 119.

Food for Thought

By neglecting to do good, we end up neglecting God.

Have you ever been in a situation and you just knew you were being asked to do something good, say something good, be something good — but you didn’t do it, say it, or be it? No doubt we all have. In the wake of those moments, we often feel like we’ve neglected someone. But how often do we live with the awareness that we’ve neglected God in those moments?

When we do something unto the least of our brothers or sisters, we’re doing it as unto the Lord. And when we don’t something unto the least of our brothers and sisters, we’re not doing it unto the Lord. Omission by another name is neglect. And neglect in God’s eyes is sin. Sincerely confess it to God, and ask him to help you to “do good” in that relationship in the future.

Conference Workshops are Now Posted Online!

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Some very exciting news from our conference blog:

You will notice an update to our workshop page that now lists specific workshops for each time slot. We still have a few more coming so be sure to keep an eye on that page for the latest information. Hopefully you will be excited to see what workshops we are offering at the conference this year. Though there are a smaller number this year we think you will find these to be outstanding workshops with relevant topics.

To check out the entire list visit our conference website.

Living a Legacy of Peace

If you can come to the 2014 Peacemaker Conference, you’ll discover the theme this year is based on Luke 10:27: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (ESV). Because God first loved us, we can love him with all our heart and love our neighbor in such a way that we can live in peace. Peace from our vertical relationship with Christ flows out into our horizontal relationships with others.

God’s reconciling peace has been moving throughout millennia in the lives of his people. Over thirty years ago, a few faithful people created Peacemaker Ministries to serve the Christian community with inspiration, encouragement, and practical advice on how to respond biblically to conflict. Resources have since been translated into more than a dozen languages and have helped train hundreds of thousands of people around the world, giving them help as they work through countless relational difficulties. You can help build upon this blessed legacy that God has provided Peacemaker Ministries.

 


The next thirty years can be a time of exponential growth for peacemaking.


Because peacemaking is biblically-based, its core principles are timeless. Yet the time is right to create a fresh approach to those timeless truths on which Peacemaker Ministries is based.

Together we can reach for greater impact in the lives of families, workplaces, churches, and communities. The next thirty years can be a time of exponential growth for peacemaking. We are grateful to God for the opportunities he is providing to bring peacemaking to the global Christian community—opportunties for us all to live a legacy of peace.

But I Don’t SEE It!

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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 Rom. 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.

 

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 64-65.

Food for Thought

Does believing that God works for your good in a conflict depend on your ability to see what that good is? What happens to your belief if you don’t see that good for several weeks, months, years… or not at all this side of heaven?

In these situations, we must hold tight to the wealth of promises in Scripture and look closely at those passages that reveal the character of God. In times of greatest uncertainty, we must consciously choose to believe that God is working all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We may not understand what God is doing, but we can always trust in who God is and trust that he knows what he’s accomplishing.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are
your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8.

The Practice of Repentence

Over at The Resurgence, Ryan Kearns has a great short piece on the importance of repentance. He writes:

“”Repent” is often heard in our minds as a condemning, impersonal, and at times shaming experience. We fail to grasp that the call to repent is a sweet invitation to have more grace, more mercy, and ultimately more happiness than if we remain in our sin. Leaving our sin behind does not lessen us, but restores us and empowers us to be who God has made us to be.” (emphasis added)

And later he offers these convicting, wise words for those of us who fear what repentance might do to our relationships or reputation:

“We often don’t want to confess because we are afraid of the damage it will do to us (1 John 1:9). Yet if we are dead to sin and all of our life is in Christ, repenting will never harm us. We are free to be exactly who God is making us to be.”

It’s a really great post and is well worth the few minutes it will take to read the whole thing here.

Even the Small Peaces

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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will
fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” Matthew 10:29

To be sovereign means to be supreme, unlimited, and totally independent of any other influence. God alone has such power (Ps. 86:10; Isa. 46:9-10). The Bible teaches that God’s dominion is so great that he has ultimate control over all things. His sovereignty extends over both creation and preservation (Ps. 135:6-7; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 4:11). He rules over all governments (Prov. 21:1; Dan 2:20-21; 4:35). He alone controls individual lives and destinies (Jer. 18:6; John 6:39; Rom. 9:15-16; 15:32; Eph. 1:11-12; James 4:15). At the same time, he watches over events as small as a sparrow’s fall from a tree (Matt. 10:29).

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 60.

 

Food for Thought

 

Big or small, God is over all.

Sovereign. Supreme. Unlimited. Those are words that speak of power and might and greatness. They describe our Father who art in heaven and rightly so. Ken reminds us that we serve a God who is “totally independent of any other influence.” It’s reassuring to know that our great and mighty God is fully involved in bringing peace to situations and circumstances too big for us — the BIG peaces. Peace in Jerusalem. Peace in Ukraine. Peace in inner city Detroit.

But it’s humbling to remember that our great and mighty God is also totally committed to bringing peace to those places and spaces that aren’t so big and grand — the little peaces. Such as peace between two families in a church of fifty people tucked away in the hills of Carolina. Peace between a husband and wife who squabble over financial matters; not a lot, but just enough to keep distance between them. These situations-in-need-of-peace will never make the evening news or the front page of the Sunday paper. But neither do sparrows falling to the ground. But he sees them. And our Sovereign, Supreme, and Unlimited God sees and cares and desires his peace to reign, regardless of the size.

Blessed Are the Peace MAKERS

Recently, Barnabas Piper wrote a great piece for The Blazing Center where he talks about the almost-violent nature that Christians should be justice seekers or PeaceMAKERS. I feel like we can identify with the sometimes tumultuous struggle to be like Christ in the midst of conflict and trust God for the results when our nature wants us to “just let it be.”

Here’s one of the paragraphs that really stood out to me:

“…being a peacemaker is likely the least peaceful calling. It calls us to the forefront of the advancement of God’s cause. To make peace is to venture into the places where it isn’t, to stand between unrest and those who need rest, in some cases to fight what is wrong for the sake of what is right. The weak need defending, the poor need serving, the unjust need facing and rebuking, and the gospel needs declaring. And the Bible promises that it is not peace we will get for these actions, but pain and persecution.”

You can read the whole thing over at The Blazing Center.

Testimonies of Impact – Ringing out Hope to the World

At St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, Montana, every time a baby is born, the Brahm’s Lullaby is softly played over the intercom to the entire hospital. People visiting the ICU, concerned about death, hear this reminder that there is new life in another part of the hospital. Here at the office we frequently receive reports of glorious restoration and we’d like to find a way to ring out this hope to the world. In the midst of life’s struggles, it is encouraging to hear about gospel-penetrating breakthroughs in tough, gridlocked estrangements.

Continuing prayers and support from partners like you are having an impact in many lives and in many ways. Here are some of the stories we’ve recently received:

  • Joe* teaches The Young Peacemaker regularly in his church and has participated in saving many marriages by teaching biblical conflict resolution.
  • David is teaching inmates in a men’s prison peacemaking principles during the chapel service with 75 men in attendance.
  • Scott led a mediation (via international travel and the internet) with a missions team profoundly suffering from relational offenses from the past three years, which ended in glorious reconciliation and a plan for restoration.
  • Chris is now pastoring a church that suffered conflict for 12 years, ultimately needing intervention, and is helping the church build a culture of peace for long-term restoration.
  • Bailey is teaching the French Young Peacemaker to former child soldiers and orphans in central Africa.
  • Marc is teaching African refugees how to build a story of redemption to reinterpret their history of conflict and expatriation from genocide.

*To honor confidentiality, in this list we’ve changed the names and places.

In 2014 and beyond, you can help push forward new projects and methods of delivery to increase awareness and target education to groups of people who need peacemaking—people who’d like to navigate life in marriage well, people who desire peace with God and with neighbors, people seeking to lay a gospel foundation for the next generation. People like you, who believe our brothers and sisters in Christ need peacemaking skills, provide the fuel that advances Peacemaker Ministries and transforms people’s lives. Please consider making an investment today that will help expand peacemaking to more hurting and needy people in the coming months!

An Objective Third Party

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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

 

It is often helpful to refer to the Bible as a source of objective truth when you have a disagreement with another Christian.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 180.

 

Food for Thought

Every disagreement needs an objective voice.

Here’s a saying you may have heard: There are two sides to every story, and the truth is somewhere in the middle. That’s definitely a step in the right direction, but it stops short of being truly wise because it leaves “the middle” undefined. Is “the middle” a combination of what side A and side B are proposing? Is “the middle” the input of a family member, friend, or co-worker? That all still sounds very subjective; what a disagreement needs is something objective.

Ken reminds us that when disagreements arise between Christians, “the middle” needs to be the Bible, God’s Word, the source of objective truth. God’s Word is a lamp so our stubborn feet can find the way again to peace. It’s a light so our eyes filled with anger or pride can truly see what’s going on. (Remember… Scripture has as much to say to YOU as it does to the other person.) The Bible is that two-edged sword which cuts through our defenses and reveals the motives of the heart. Those God-breathed words train us to be much more than right; they train us to be righteous. The next time you have a disagreement with another Christian brother or sister, don’t just put anything in the middle. Put God’s Word in the middle.