Detours


Not a fan of unplanned detours? Neither am I. They create aggravation, force delays, and interfere with my plans. All it takes is one wrong turn, a missed road sign, or inadequate directions and we find ourselves in a place we never intended to be.

The same is true for those who walk The Path of a Peacemaker. While the peacemaker’s path is clearly marked by genuine grace, authentic justice, and a response that reflects a commitment to the Gospel of Christ, other routes take us far away from the reconciliation and peace we so earnestly desire.

One such detour from “The Path” is a defensive response to conflict. Whenever the focus shifts from an amicable resolution to the offense itself, peace is no longer the intended destination. Instead, it’s about coming out ahead in the argument. With harsh words and actions no longer off limits, those in attack mode may find that peace is elusive and the road back to a restored relationship is considerably more difficult.

While some may choose the war path, others are eager to discover an escape route. On the surface, retreat may appear to be a quieter, more civil way to address conflict. However, this detour is not without its own pain and heartache. As issues go unaddressed and relationships remain unrestored, those who walk this road will find themselves miles away from the path of peace.

Time to Reflect

When confronted with conflict, it doesn’t matter whether our natural response is to attack or escape. Either is a detour from God’s desire for us, and always leads us down a dead end road. My prayer is that we will quickly recognize the “Dead End” signs associated with attacking and escaping so that we can make a U-Turn back onto The Path of a Peacemaker.

In our efforts to stay on “The Path”, reflection is an important part of the journey. If we are willing to ask ourselves deep, probing questions – and then answer them honestly – our Father can open our eyes to the good steps, the missteps, and the detours we have taken along the way.

This week, I leave you with these reflection questions: What is my natural response to conflict? When I find myself at odds with a brother or sister, do I take aim and fire, or look for the quickest escape route? If I’ve taken a detour, what steps lead me back to The Path of a Peacemaker?

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Check out next week’s blog post for more reflection questions as we journey The Path of a Peacemaker. On a related note, if you enjoy the blog, I hope you’ll consider attending The Path of a Peacemaker Seminar on Saturday, September 26th. Admission is free, but advance registration is required. Click here to get all the details and sign up today!

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Idols in Disguise


When I read the Biblical account of the Israelites’ obsession with foreign gods and their repeated rejection of the one true God, it’s hard for me to imagine that they could be so foolish as to worship inferior gods of their own making. What is even harder to comprehend is how, despite their painful cycle of rebellion, their loving Father never stopped His pursuit to recapture their hearts:

When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry.  I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols. Ezekiel 14:4b-5

Instead of being tempted to follow idols constructed of wood, stone, or precious metals, our hearts are enticed by the things that capture our affection and vie for residence in our hearts. While these idols can be obvious vices like greed, addiction, or unhealthy obsessions, many times they are disguised as some of the good things that have been given to us by God Himself – our possessions, our careers, our ambition, our dreams.

Does it consume our affections? Drive our priorities? Compromise our commitment to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we are dealing with idolatry and are no different than the Israelites. And, if the Israelites could see our false gods in the same way we have seen theirs, their response might well be: “It’s hard to imagine that they could be so foolish as to worship inferior gods of their own making.” Sound familiar?

Whether constructed by hands, or created in the heart, the foolishness of idolatry is more easily observed in others than in ourselves. However, through the process of reflection, God can open our eyes to the idols that have taken up residence on the throne of our hearts. If we’ll choose contrition and repentance, these enormous barriers to peace with God and our fellow man will be removed as we continue along The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Check out next week’s blog post to learn more about the importance of reflection in the peacemaking process. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Deflect or Reflect


When conflict enters my space, too often I look outside myself to identify the reason for the conflict. At times, I am quick to point out the mistakes of others, but slow to consider the possibility of my own wrongdoing in the situation.

In the midst of such dissension and distrust, it is unfair, but not uncommon for us to judge others by their actions while judging ourselves by our intentions. In so doing, we extend grace to ourselves while continuing to judge the hearts and choices of others. This is complicated further by the very real possibility that those with whom we disagree may be processing their own frustrations in a similar way.

While both sides of a conflict need to be addressed before a broken relationship can be restored, too often we focus our attention on what our brother or sister has done wrong before we have taken the time to examine our own heart and actions:

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:4-5

Anytime we are confronted with a contentious situation, we have an important choice to make: will we automatically deflect and blame someone else for the issue, or will we first reflect on our role in the situation and take responsibility for our own actions?

When we deflect, it is not only harmful to the pursuit of peace; it is harmful to our growth and maturity as believers. When we reflect, the Spirit of God can change our hearts and mold us into His image. This process can be humbling, but brings us another step closer to God and our fellow man.

There’s no doubt that we find tremendous freedom when we surrender everything to the Father and move forward on The Path of a Peacemaker. My prayer is that we all will learn how to walk “The Path” sooner and more often, with transparency, humility and forgiveness, basking in the peace it brings us, just as He promises.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Check out next week’s blog post to learn more about the importance of reflection in the peacemaking process. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Looking Inside


There are so many things I have come to appreciate about Jesus’ interactions with His followers. His preaching was practical, His illustrations were powerful, and He didn’t hesitate to ask deep, probing questions that get right at the heart of the issue. As part of his teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, He offered one such question that still deserves consideration today:

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3

As I’ve pondered Jesus’ question, it’s hard to miss His point. It’s counterproductive to focus on another person’s problem when our vision is blocked by our own significant challenges. Yet, it seems we do this all the time – but why?

While the answer to this question is somewhat unique to each of us, I believe an underlying issue is our natural tendency to shift blame and avoid taking responsibility, especially when engaged in conflict. It’s difficult – sometimes even painful – to look deep inside ourselves and address the issues that tend to cause us and others harm.

This brings us to the next step on The Path of a Peacemaker – that of reflection. The process of examining our hearts and making adjustments may not be easy, but it is necessary. As we continue our journey as peacemakers, these questions will help guide us along the way: How do we respond to tension? What part of conflict are we handling right? What could we do better? Together, we’ll reflect on these things (and more) as we continue to pursue the path to peace.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

When it comes to conflict, do you deflect or reflect? Check out next week’s blog post for more on this topic. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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