In Praise of Constructive Peacemakers

OGC made the local paper not long ago.

Someone sent this little ditty into the Ticked Off section a few weeks back.

A sign that says “The Future Home of the Orlando Grace Church” has been posted on Maitland Avenue in Altamonte Springs across from St. Mary Magdalene Church for at least 38 years now. How much longer do we have to wait?

I have to admit. At first I wondered if someone from OGC put that in the paper! Just kidding, sort of.

No matter who submitted it, I sincerely hope no one will have to wait much longer for us to get into a facility, certainly not another 38 years (don’t you just love sarcasm?). But this post doesn’t concern building programs and God’s providence for when a project of that magnitude gets off the ground and when it doesn’t. This post is about peacemaking, constructive peacemaking, in particular.

I HATE this section of our paper. Nothing about anonymous griping and grousing over anybody or anything promotes constructive peacemaking when someone gets ticked off. That’s peacebreaking, even peacefaking at its worst.

Peacemaking, the biblical kind, governed by the principles and constraints of scripture, is constructive in every way and commended by God (Matt. 5:9).

I decided to write about this for a couple of other reasons beyond the snipe in the paper.

First, someone recently confronted me about a beef they had with me. They honestly shared their feelings in a calm and constructive fashion. The first words out my mouth were, “Thank you for telling me. This gives us an assignment from God to do biblical peacemaking to the glory of God.” And we did. We prayed. We talked. God was honored. The relationship was restored. Confessions were made (by me too). I emailed the party after the fact and thanked them again for loving me well as a constructive peacemaker. May their tribe increase!

Second, I just finished teaching on peacemaking in our new member’s class. I am not sure why, but I think it might be my favorite session. Probably because of the practical value of the content and its enormous importance to the peace and purity of our church.

SandeIn the class I cover the 4 G’s of biblical peacemaking as outlined by Ken Sande in his book, The Peacemaker. Do you have them memorized? I pray you do. They have saved my pastoral keister in more than one conflict. Here is a quick refresher.

 

  1. Glorify God – determine to conduct yourself in the conflict in a way that honors God from first to last (1 Cor. 10:31).
  2. Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye – examine your own contribution to the conflict and admit any sins/faults you contributed along the way (Matt. 7:3-5).
  3. Gently Restore – engage the conflict with a view toward another’s restoration all the while moving through the various steps with a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 6:1-2; Matt. 18:15-17).
  4. Go and Be Reconciled – pursue the complete restoration of the relationship through the practice of biblical forgiveness (Eph. 4:31-32).

So the next time you get ticked off (and we all do), what will you do? Determine to be a constructive biblical peacemaker. I for one will rise up and call you blessed.

5 responses

  1. While I’m not familiar with this particular part of the newspaper, I do think that it is still a positive move for Peacemaking.

    If I remember the peacemaking spectrum, keeping silent but brooding was peace-faking. Overlooking, which is certainly an option here, fits in peace-making. So does just bringing up the problem, even anonymously.

    I have seen plenty of opinions on why we need to keep anonymous comments on websites, (still keeping social or admin moderation) and this fits a similar scenario. If we didn’t have these sorts of outlets, we would probably be stuck with something even worse.

  2. Thanks, Bryan, for your thoughtful reply. I suppose the analogy to peacemaking from a newspaper format like this does break down to some degree. The “Ticked Off” venue is for venting and probably does sell papers; it’s not designed to promote agreement between dissenting parties. I would still press some to say that in actual peacemaking in principle, while speaking up definitely is superior to brooding when you can’t overlook an offense, an anonymous vent utilizing sarcasm errs in the opposite direction through peacebreaking with inappropriate words. Furthermore, anonymity never allows for the reciprocity that promotes reconciliation/restoration – the ultimate goal of all peacemaking. You simply do not know to whom you should respond. It’s entirely one sided. At any rate, thanks for not leaving an anonmymous comment!

  3. Agreed!
    Writing in anonymously is definitely a minimalist approach to peacemaking and not something we should use as good example.

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