Peacemaking is a large part of being a biblical counselor/discipler. Have you been in the position to be a peacemaker yet? In the Beatitudes, Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matt 5:9) As always, we must apply truth to our own hearts first.
We are called by God- all of us are- to "go and be reconciled" with one another (Matt 5:24). The desire to do so is an evidence of the very presence of the Holy Spirit within us. How many of your relationships are out of order? How many have discord and animosity as a rule rather than the exception?
Our very position in Christ is based upon reconciliation, and our having been gifted a forgiveness we do not deserve! We have been forgiven based on the grace of God, not on our own worth or penance we have done. Our response to such wonderful grace is to forgive as we have been forgiven (Col 3:13).
I confess that peacemaking is not always easy for me. My flesh still desires to be vindicated when I am wronged! I would much rather defend my position and redeem my reputation than allow myself to be falsely accused or slandered. These types of betrayals seem to be the worst.
There have been a few times in my ministry life that I have been betrayed by people in the church that I loved and trusted. I think what made it hurt do badly is that those people were my family; part of my eternal family and I loved them and respected them.
The truth is people we have no relationship with really cannot hurt us, they cannot betray us to the extent that our loved ones can. This causes us to withdraw and want to hold people at an arms length and have only superficial relationships with people.
Have you noticed your pastor's wife? Many pastor's wives do not have close friendships but many acquaintances in the church. There is a reason for that! Many have been so deeply hurt over the years by those who befriended them and eventually turned on them and their husband as they left the church. After a while it just seems easier to have only superficial relationships because they don't hurt as much. How sad!
Sisters in Christ, this should not be the case in our churches. The church is to be the example for the world of love and compassion and sacrifice. How we have miserably failed in many circumstances...
Peacemaking is a calling for every Christian- counselor, discipler, or pew sitter. Each one of us has a responsibility before God to apply biblical theology for conflict resolution in our homes and our churches, our families and our church family. To refuse to do so is frankly shameful and disgraces the name of Christ, the ultimate Peacemaker.
From time to time we are all called on to be peacemakers. You may be asked to settle a dispute between others or you may be involved in a broken relationship with someone and have to be a peacemaker in your own situation.
Ken Sande's book, The Peacemaker is a wonderful tool for those who want to take the command of Jesus serious when it comes to reconciling relationships. You will find his principles for peacemaking here, applied to real situations where they have been applied.
Sande says that the first thing that is necessary is a desire to Glorify God. We must determine if our number one goal and desire in the conflict is to glorify God, and it has to mean more to us than being right, being vindicated, being apologized to, or taking revenge. So often it seems that the latter are the goal in a conflict between Christians. No wonder some say it is hard to tell us apart from the world!
1 Cor. 10:21 tells us that we are to glorify God all things, even those common things like eating and drinking! If Paul thought to mention such base actions like the intake of food and beverage as actions that must glorify God then it stands to reason that our other actions must carry a heavier weight in His eyes.
In conflict it is easy to be carried away by the emotions and desires that are fed by the thoughts and beliefs that originate in our hearts. Especially when we are feeling hurt and betrayed. It is so important that we keep our thoughts focused on how we can respond righteously in spite of how we feel!
This is most difficult then we have been betrayed, attacked, misunderstood or attacked. I have been falsely accused of somethings by a person within the church in the past. The hardest part for me has been to hold the line of righteousness, and I confess that I have not always done that very well. The point I wish to make is that my failure to respond righteously was not due to inadequacy in the Holy Spirit and His power in my life, because He has enabled me to glorify God even in the midst of such wrongful accusations.
In the end, will it matter what I have been accused of? Not really, this world is a temporary place and I will go on to meet Jesus and all this will be forgotten. What will live on is whether or not I glorified God on earth and the impact my life made on others for the Kingdom of God.