Blessed are the Peace-Fakers?

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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Matt. 5:9

People who use escape responses are usually intent on ‘peace-faking,’ or making things look good even then they are not. This is especially common in the church, where people are often more concerned about the appearance of peace than the reality of peace. Attack responses are used by people who are prone to ‘peace-breaking.’ They are more than willing to sacrifice peace and unity to get what they want.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 28.

Food for Thought

Being a peacemaker is difficult. There is no other way to honestly speak about it. It is hard, humbling, and sometimes humiliating work. But consider this: The peace that Christ achieved for us was hard. Jesus is described as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isa. 53:3). It was humbling. Jesus humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8). And it was humiliating. Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb.12:2). All this was done so that peace, not just an appearance of peace, but the reality of peace would be achieved between God and human beings.

But believe it or not, being a peace-faker is difficult too. It takes a great deal of emotional energy to smile and wave or shake hands with someone at church when your heart is hardened against that person. Continuing to function in a civil manner alongside a co-worker who has wronged you can feel like splitting rocks in a prison camp. Tip-toeing around sensitive issues in your family while a dangerous current of anger and resentment boils beneath the surface can often make you physically sick inside. And what is the result of all this? The appearance of peace, but not the reality. For all of that time, and energy, and heartache, you end up with something that is not real.

Hebrews 12:3 says, “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lost heart.” Are you feeling weary? Yes, it’s hard and yes, there is hostility, but consider Jesus and don’t lose heart. With His strength and presence, it is doable. Remember, the goal is God’s peace. And while it may not always be pretty, it’s always real.

An Opportunity to Serve

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Conflict presents unique opportunities to serve other people. When others are weighed down with problems and stress, God will sometimes use us to encourage them and help carry their burdens. In other situations, we may be able to give helpful advice, provide a positive example, or suggest creative solutions to problems. Best of all, conflict can provide the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ and give witness to the gospel, even to people who are attacking us.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 143.

Food for Thought

It seems when we’ve got many problems and much stress, conflict comes at us faster than ever. Our emotions are intensified and things we may have overlooked now become full blown conflicts. No matter which way we turn, it stares us in the face. While this doesn’t provide an excuse to treat others poorly or unfairly, it does provide much opportunity for peacemaking.

The same is true for those around us. There could be circumstances in their lives causing them to respond differently than they normally would. Their burden may be too big for them to carry alone. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. God put you in their path to speak a kind word, offer forgiveness, give advice, or be a listening ear. To put it simply, to serve them. And when we’re serving others, our view of a conflict will often change.

Be on the lookout today for special God-given opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ even in the midst of conflict. When you actively model the gospel in action, you are making the most of every opportunity to serve other people.

A Note from Dale

A Note From Dale

In less than two weeks, peacemakers from around the world will gather in Colorado Springs to celebrate the Lord’s ministry of reconciliation through biblical peacemaking. I am looking forward to the fellowship, corporate prayer and praise, and the testimonies of Living the Legacy of Peace that God has graciously brought to his people through the ministry of reconciliation. I am also looking forward to the teaching times—the pre-conference training events, the workshops, and the keynote speakers.

The professional biographies for our keynote speakers are listed online, but I would like to tell you a little bit more about why these particular people were invited to serve at our conference:

meyerRev. Dr. Jason Meyer is one of the most humble and gifted men I have ever met. In addition to being a seminary professor and theologian, Pastor Meyer has been entrusted with the pulpit that formerly was filled by the inimitable Rev. Dr. John Piper, which I believe is a clear testament to Rev. Meyer’s extraordinary gifts as a preacher and to his character as a faithful Christ-follower. During his keynote, Rev. Meyer will be sharing with us the tremendous story of peace and peacemaking that his church recently lived out. I’m excited to hear from Rev. Meyer’s heart and I hope you are too.

GaryHoagDr. Gary Hoag brings a message that is especially relevant to peacemakers because he identifies the way Christ-followers can fall into the “common path” (guided by their own desires and purposes and influenced by the media, celebrity and hype, numbers, dollars, and manipulative practices) and then he differentiates that common path from the radically biblical “higher road” path (guided by Kingdom outcomes). As we all know, the pull to self-centered interests is often at the heart of destructive conflict. This is just one reason why I am confident that Dr. Hoag’s New Testament scholarship will greatly benefit us all as he shares with us his insights into peace, shalom, and unity.

BradyBoydResizePastor Brady Boyd is a Texas boy who bravely came to Colorado to take on the daunting task of filling a pulpit following the moral failure of a high-visibility Christian leader. As if the conflicts associated with that desert experience weren’t challenging enough, Pastor Boyd and his church went through the unimaginable horror of a lone gunman shooting and killing several young girls (sisters) while they were attending their church service. The power of God is clearly at work in the testimony and legacy of this church that has ministered peace not only to the family of the dead victims, but also to the family of the dead gunman. This is a keynote session that you do not want to miss.

Val-SheanAnd finally, let me tell you about the treasure we have in Dr. Val Shean Lomilo, who is traveling all the way from Uganda to share with us the story of the Lord’s ministry of peace to a (formerly) warring, violent, aggressive, Karamojong tribe. Thanks to God’s grace ministered through this wise and godly woman, and the US-based team of peacemakers that she brought in to assist with the conflict, the Karamojong people have turned away from generations of revenge killings to establish a new way of life, in a new village—The Peace Village. I have no doubt that we will be on the edge of our seats as we hear more specifics about the oft’ life-threatening circumstances that Dr. Val faced as she worked alongside other peacemakers to serve the Karamojong people, and we will rejoice in how, several years later, God is continuing to transform lives among the tribal members.

DalePyneCroppedWon’t these speakers lead us well in remembering and celebrating Living a Legacy of Peace? And we have many other gifted peacemakers serving us during the workshop times too.

I hope that you will make plans now to join us in Colorado Springs September 25-27. And if you can’t join us in person, I hope to see you online through our virtual conference.

Grateful for the Legacy of Peace and for the future!

DaleSignature

 

 

 

Dale Pyne, CEO of Peacemaker Ministries

What Revenge Can Teach Us About Forgiveness

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Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgetting is a passive process in which a matter fades from memory merely with the passing of time. Forgiving is an active process; it involves a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action. To put it another way, when God says that he “remembers your sins no more” (Isa. 43:25), he is not saying that he cannot remember our sins. Rather, he is promising that he will not remember them. When he forgives us, he chooses not to mention, recount, or think about our sins ever again. Similarly, when we forgive, we must draw on God’s grace and consciously decide not to think or talk about what others have done to hurt us. This may require a lot of effort, especially when an offense is still fresh in mind. Fortunately, when we decide to forgive someone and stop dwelling on an offense, painful memories usually begin to fade.

 
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 206.

 

Food for Thought

 

“Revenge,” says the famous Sicilian proverb, “is a dish best served cold.” In other words, “effective” revenge requires careful planning as well as emotional distance from the experience that prompted the desire for revenge in the first place.

Interestingly, there’s also a sense in which biblical forgiveness is best as a “chilled dish.” It shouldn’t be emotionally chilled, of course, but it should be carefully planned and originate in a place deeper than our emotions. As Christians, we don’t wait to forgive so that we can let the memory of the offense fade or so the other person will suffer. Instead, we forgive deliberately. We carefully plan for the restoration of the relationship that has been wronged, and we submit our emotional hurt to Christ, who compels us to forgive as he has forgiven us.

As you “plot” your own forgiveness of others, remember that God’s plan for forgiveness was a profoundly deliberate effort that impacted literally every generation over literally centuries of time. If “cold revenge” is deeply satisfying, how infinitely much more so is deliberate, planned biblical forgiveness.

An Invitation from Brady Boyd

Here’s a short video from Pastor Brady Boyd in Colorado Springs inviting you to our annual conference:

Pastor Brady Boyd invite to 2014 Conference from Peacemaker Ministries on Vimeo.

Brady Boyd is the Senior Pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO and you can find him on Twitter under @PastorBrady. Brady is married to his college sweetheart, Pam and is the dad to great kids named Abram and Callie. He has written four books, Addicted to BusyFear No Evil, Sons & Daughters, and Let Her Lead. (All are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble). He’s also really serious about caring for the people of Colorado Springs by opening numerous Dream Centers.

If you’re interested in attending our conference this year, check out our conference website for more information or to register.

Holy Forbearance

Unity in diversityI’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon this article from The Presbyterian Outlook, but I’m glad I did. In it James Calvin Davis talks about how Paul’s counsel to the Ephesians when he says to “mak[e] every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” can be related to the decisions made at the last PC(USA) General Assembly. He does a really good job of explaining how anyone who might be tempted to react gracelessly might be able to look to Paul’s epistle for guidance on how to disagree while still fulfilling our efforts to maintain unity as members of the body of Christ.

He states:

What might it mean to practice forbearance in today’s PC(USA)? Surely it requires all of us to approach our disagreements with a healthy dose of humility, acutely aware that we don’t know everything there is to know about this world and God’s intentions for it. Forbearance also demands the exercise of patience, taking time to listen to sisters and brothers and respecting their place in Christian community. It likely requires a commitment to faithfulness, maintaining relationships of trust with one another across theological differences and, more fundamentally, trusting God to reveal truth in God’s time. Ultimately, forbearance invites us to love one another as friends and fellow travelers on this pilgrimage of faith.

And later:

Ephesians doesn’t commend forbearance on the assumption of uniformity in the church. Quite the opposite, in fact! The call to forbearance doesn’t make any sense without high-stakes disagreement in play. But while disagreement has always been a part of being [the] church, so is the cosmic unity in which we negotiate that disagreement.

I’m not part of the PC(USA) and there are probably things I’d disagree with Mr. Davis on but isn’t that the point? I think we all sometimes need to be reminded of the need for Christian ” unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” and I appreciated the call to “faithful witness in times of disagreement.”

You can read the whole things here.

Don’t Be a “Chocolate Only” Christian!

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Through Jesus you can also experience genuine peace within yourself. Internal peace is a sense of wholeness, contentment, tranquility, order, rest, and security. Although nearly everyone longs for this kind of peace, it eludes most people. Genuine internal peace cannot be directly obtained through our own efforts; it is a gift that God gives only to those who believe in his Son and obey his commands (1 John 3:21-24). In other words, internal peace is a by-product of righteousness. This truth is revealed throughout Scripture:

 

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3).

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isa. 32:17; cf. Pss. 85:10; 119:165).

“If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isa. 48:18).

 

These passages show why it is impossible to experience internal peace if you fail to pursue peace with God and peace with others. Internal peace comes only from being reconciled to God through his Son, receiving his righteousness and the power to resist sin, and then obeying what God commands. “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us” (1 John 3:23). By God’s design, the three dimensions of peace are inseparably joined. As one author expressed it, “Peace with God, peace with each other and peace with ourselves come in the same package.”

 
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 46-47.

 

Food for Thought

Authentic biblical peace is like Neapolitan ice cream. Peace with God is like the chocolate. Peace with others is like the vanilla. And peace with ourselves is like the strawberry. Some folks, when presented with a carton of Neapolitan ice cream, eat only their favorite flavor (usually the chocolate, right?) before putting the 1/3-empty package back in the freezer. When subsequent snackers drop by, they become crestfallen: Neapolitan without one of the flavors just isn’t Neapolitan! Much of modern Christendom is like this. “Christian” is too often understood only to mean “at peace with God.” Rarely are Christians encouraged to dig their spoons into the vanilla and strawberry dimensions of the faith: making peace with others and experiencing peace within. Sure, the chocolate is important–you might even say it’s the “best part”, but chocolate-only Christians will never change the world. Blessed are the true Neapolitan peacemakers, for they will not be confined to the freezer for long!