Peacemaking 101 for Eagerly Preserving Church Unity
What is something at which you very much want to excel? Some passion, skill, or gift you pursue where you won’t settle for average?
There are many things believers should do based upon who we are in Christ. Some of them get a do-your-best emphasis.
Consider Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Do you care enough about peacemaking in your church that you strive to excel at it (Heb. 12:14)?
After three chapters of unpacking the gospel—who we are in Christ and what He has done for us in reconciling us to Himself and bringing peace in one body—Paul pivots in Ephesians 4:1 with “therefore”—walk in a manner worthy of your calling.
What does that look like? Make every effort to guard the oneness of the fellowship.
Here are three of the most important ways you can excel in this regard.
Whenever you Pray, Ask a lot for Others for Peace
James 4:2 says, You do not have because you do not ask. Prayerlessness lies at the root of many church ills, including disunity.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:7-11), Jesus taught on prayer—ask, seek, knock.
Those words in the context come right after Jesus’s instructions about peacemaking (7:1-6). Don’t judge. Get the log out of your own eye. Don’t cast your pearls before swine.
Good grief! No wonder the Lord taught about prayer right after that. If we are going to excel at peacemaking and preserving unity in our churches, we are going to need God’s help and plenty of it. So pray specifically for peacemaking challenges in your church.
Whenever You Can, Overlook a lot in Others for Peace
Proverbs 19:11 counsels, Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Put another way, do not be easily offended. Overlooking offenses—forgiving them summarily without confrontation whenever you possibly can—that’s peacemaking wisdom.
Solomon calls it a glory, a beautiful thing, an honor. Why? Because that’s when we most resemble the Lord (Col. 3:13).
You can put up with a whole lot more from others than you give Jesus credit for in you!
Whenever You Must, Talk a lot to Others for Peace
We can’t always overlook. Sometimes confronting is necessary. What must we do?
Talk to the person. Jesus taught, If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone (Matt. 18:15) . I am amazed how often we duck this responsibility altogether or put it off indefinitely.
Oh, we’ll talk to others for sure, but way too often someone other than the brother or sister who has ticked us off—and we call that what? GOSSIP. And God hates it when we sow discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:19 calls it ‘an abomination’).
Make every effort. Pray a lot. Overlook a lot. Talk a lot.
Do these things in the power of the Spirit motivated by forgiving gospel grace and you will excel at preserving the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace!