A Review of “The Path of a Peacemaker”
Our age abounds with peace-breaking tension.
Internationally, the streets of Hong Kong and the Strait of Hormuz–just to name two–know life-threatening tension.
Nationally, our nation’s capitol reverberates with rancor and division over immigration policy and a host of other clashing views.
Evangelically, the Reformed camp struggles with sharp disagreement such as I have never seen in my pastoral lifetime over issues of ethnic diversity, social justice, and racial reconciliation.
And these say nothing of the other forms of conflict and disunity that affect our communities, churches, homes, and relationships of all kinds.
Thankfully, Brian Noble of Peacemaker Ministries has contributed another helpful weapon to the peacemaking arsenal for fighting the good fight of peace in any context. The Path of a Peacemaker: Your Biblical Guide to Healthy Relationships, Conflict Resolution, and a Life of Peace (Baker, 2019, 238 pages) turns the tables on tension early on in its pages. Noble relates his own tension-filled upbringing story and how God used it as a positive force in his journey.
He then proceeds to develop in detail a four-part rubric for navigating tension born of conflict to positive, peacemaking ends.
He guides the reader through one, story–tell our stories together; two, ascend–pray and read Scripture together; three, reflect–take personal responsibility; and connect–ask, confess, seek, and forgive. He encourages the reader:
A path of a peacemaker conversation is not about perfection. It’s about being willing. It’s about being vulnerable. It’s about being sincere in seeking peace. It’s about caring enough to involve yourself in something that—let’s face it—could be uncomfortable (194).
I particularly appreciated Noble’s repeated emphasis on the importance of humility (I’ve suffered my share of failure with my prideful nature) at every point on the peacemaking path.
Citing Jesus’s example in John 8:1-11 he writes: “Humility has the power to change everything. It is one of the most important lessons we can learn from Jesus. Jesus changed the world with humility” (101).
Brian Noble writes well. He relates stories effectively to bring home his points. He excels in the practical. The questions he suggests asking for connecting in the chapter on forgiveness could be worth the price of the book!
Noble includes plenty of biblical references pertinent to a sound peacemaking theology. He does not make it his purpose to delve deeply in exegetical study. But he writes on solid theological ground–including his appeal to the gospel as the means and power for putting the path of a peacemaker into process.
You have to love where he lands the plane:
Even though this book is based on a set of steps to help you find peace with someone you’ve been warring with, it’s not about the process. The process is just a means to an end. What really matters is action. When you invite someone to sit and talk about something that has hurt you, that’s taking action. When you forgive someone who’s hurt you, that’s taking action. When you make amends for some offense, that’s taking action.
Buy the book. Master the process. Walk the path.