PEACEMAKER PROJECT Based on the Book and Workbook by Ken Sandle Introduction: Conflict Resolution is an essential element of life but a task filled with so many diverse issues that not many can engage it without feeling a bit unprepared. Through the grace of God we have been given a wonderful ministry of reconciliation and direct commands to live at peace with others. The core outcome of this project is to allow you to practice the principles of conflict resolution laid forth in the Peacemaker text. Personal Conflict:
For the purpose of the Peacemaker project, I would like to deal with the conflict between Les Robinson, a deacon in our church, and myself the church pastor. The problem is Les’ personal life is affecting the ministry of the church. Les is forty-six and has been married to married to Sister Sabrina Robinson for six years and together they have three adult step children. Before they were married, Les was released from his position as a probation officer with the State of California. As a result of the things that have happened as a result of Les’ decisions he’s now negative to his wife.
He doesn’t see how his behavior is affecting the church. He drives to church in a different vehicle and doesn’t acknowledge his wife at any point in the worship service. Furthermore, whenever he addresses her it is always in a harsh and demeaning manner. On one particular occasion, after a minister finished preaching, he asked everyone to hug someone. Les was standing next to his wife; he never turned to her, but walked right pass her and hugged someone else. His wife broke down and started crying. Because of actions like this, members in the church could not follow Les and therefore, has been removed from the deacons’ ministry.
The purpose of this project is to address the issue with Les and to help heal the ministry of the church. Part one: Glorify God Section one: Conflict Provides Opportunities The conflict started when Les decided to marry his wife. Before getting married, Les was released from his position as a probation officer in the State of California. In my personal view, this is where it all began. He connected that event to the decision that he made. He could have told to himself that if he didn’t decide to marry his wife, he could’ve retained his job. He started to become cold to his wife, not doing things that a husband should be doing to his wife.
These actions negative actions, being a deacon of the church himself, create a negative impact on the church itself. But moreover, it affects Les himself and his family. I have used the peacemaking response to conflict. I have used reconciliation specifically. I’ve used a loving correction in order to appeal to the wrongdoing of Les. I decided to use this approach because of the seriousness of the situation. I believe my response would be at first would affect him negatively but in the long run, I suppose he would be able to realize my concern. I would glorify God because whatever I do, I do it for the glory of God.
And even if my decision might be unpopular to some, I do this because it is a good deed so then it would glorify God. As it was written in 1 Peter 2:12, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. I would serve others through this conflict by restoring him gently as what Galatians 6:1-2 says. I could be tempted in doing so; tempted to judge the person or to be angry but this should not be the case. I should share that person’s burden meaning I should understand what he is going through and not judge him with what he is doing.
I would grow like Christ because I would put off my old self that is corrupted by my worldly desires. This would make me weak because I am used to with this ways. But then, I would put on my new self who is created in true righteousness and holiness. I know that this is possible because God is with me. But I would not fear because I know, God’s grace is sufficient because his power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). I would grow knowing that God’s power is in me and that when I am weak; I am also strong because God is with me. Section two: Live at Peace
Peace is something that you constantly work and strive for. The fruit of Righteousness will be peace (Isaiah 32:17). Therefore, having a goal of righteousness would also be a path towards peace. There are times I feel uneasy and uncomfortable. This is the fruit of the counterpart of righteousness which is sinfulness. With sin, there is no peace. But in the absence of sin, there is no fear. My peace is like a river flowing. This is the kind of peace I desire and the kind of peace I experience when I am righteous. I always see to it that I make peace with everyone especially those who are in our church.
As it is said in the scriptures, as much as possible, you should live at peace with everyone Romans 12:18. It is that it should be done as much as possible because there would be at time that this is impossible. But, it is also said that you should do your part to reconcile with that person even if it is impossible for him to reconcile with you. I think nothing can damage the reputation of Christ. As far as I am concerned, the conflict that is laid down on us is an opportunity to do well and to receive God’s grace. I see this conflict as a way to improve us. Like the steel of a sword, we are set upon the fire so that we will be strong.
Having done the disciplinary actions, one should not forget to be completely humble and gentle. Even after the decisions that had happened, I should not forget that he is still my brother and I would not give up my efforts in convincing him that he should change his former ways. A simple gossip damages our spirit. For it doesn’t build but destroys. I must choose to become a bridge and not a wall. I should let go of my bitterness, my anger and every “baggage” I have from the past. I should forgive and forget just like Jesus did. Section three: Trust in the Lord and Do Good I think this dispute has made me re-evaluate myself.
Do I really do what pleases God? Or do I just do this because it pleases me and gives gains for me? If I do what pleases God, it should bear fruits like peace. Am I in peace with my brothers and sisters? I think this dispute is something that God allowed to happen so that I would realize all of these. I have doubts regarding the effect of this conflict towards our church. Did we make the right decision? There would certainly be a positive and a negative effect. I fear that the negative effect would outweigh the positive effect but I trust in the Lord that he would be with us all throughout.
The psalm warns us not to be envious of those who do wrong. It tells us not to be angry and turn from wrath for it would lead to sin. It instructs us to trust in the LORD, do well, to dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. It also instructs us to delight and commit ourselves in the Lord. He has promised that He would give us the desires of our hearts and he will make our righteousness and the justice of our cause shine. He also promised that those whose hope is in the Lord would be the inheritors of the land. He tells us to be upright individuals for God favors those who do well and punishes those who are wicked.
In Matt 26:42, the cup Jesus is referring to is the cup of suffering. Even if He is to suffer, because it is God’s will, He is ready and He will obey. In our case, these sufferings, these persecutions are small compared to what Jesus had come through. I feel lucky and blessed that Christ had done what should have been mine to do. And my feeling towards these disputes is a feeling of gratefulness that I was entrusted to do God’s will and I will put my trust in Him for I know He is with me. His promise is the gift of salvation. I believe that He would give the grace of peace and the grace of love to us if we do His will.
I hold on to that promise and I will trust in Him. Part two: Get the Log out of Your Eye Section one: Is This Really Worth Fighting Over? There are no material issues regarding this conflict The personal issues or offense in this conflict is the treatment Les gives to his wife. This attitude destroys their relationship and furthermore, their family. I rejoice in the Lord because He gives us an opportunity to help others. He gives us his trust to do his will and to reconcile our brothers and sisters with one another. I rejoice also that God has not abandoned Les despite the hardship he is going through.
He stayed by his side through the church and now, the church is reaching out to him to help him with this conflict. I admire Les’ passion and commitment in the service of God. I believe in his ability and capability to serve the church. Morally, being in one church, I have the right to experience peace. Therefore it is my responsibility to reconcile my brothers and sisters in a loving manner as Christ as said it in the scriptures. I should do what the spirit is telling me that is right and do this in a manner that would pleases God.
If I would exercise these rights, it would glorify God because he commanded us to live at peace with others and this would benefit all of us because where there is peace, there is love and there is the abundance of blessings. If I would lay down these rights, it would glorify God because it would show that I trust him and I lean not on my own understanding but on the wisdom of God. Simple personal issues could be overlooked but not in the case of Les. Overlooking simple personal issues would please and honor God because this would show that we follow God’s commandment to live at peace with one another and to forgive as he had forgiven us.
There is no material issues involved in the situation. Section two: Conflict Starts in the Heart I am preoccupied towards the development of the members of the church. If only I could control the hearts and minds of the people then I would be happy, fulfilled, and secure with regard to this situation. ” I would want to preserve to righteousness, purity and holiness of all those who serve the church because without these three, people would not believe in us in our capacity to bring them closer to God. I fear that in doing so, many would get hurt because of the disciplinary actions that may come because of our own natural imperfections.
If this certain desire is not met, at firs, I would feel frustrated but then, I would just lift it up to God and lean on his wisdom and I would be alright. I am willing to hurt others in a loving way in order to give do what is right and just. The more I expect of others, sometimes it is the more I become disappointed when they fail. I think it is but human nature to feel that way. I do not judge others because of their failure but I judge others based on their success. It is the way you look on things. The glass is either half empty or half full. Section three: Confession Brings Freedom I have tried to control others.
I have used my tongue as a weapon. 1. Address everyone involved The whole church is affected by my actions. Les specifically was also affected. 2. Avoid if, but, and maybe I should avoid making excuses that I am doing this for their own good. 3. Admit specifically My desire to have a “righteous” church had taken over me. I failed to trust in the Lord with my whole heart. 4. Acknowledge the hurt I feel others would feel that I am very much demanding of how others should live their life. They would see me as a controlling individual and a hypocrite that I believe I do not sin in any way. I am terribly sorry for being such a person. . Accept the consequences I would humble myself and accept that people might get mad at me but I would not be mad at them. This way I could glorify more our God. I could reverse this damage by doing these things. 6. Alter your behavior First, I should repent. I should reflect on the sins that I have committed. In this way, I would be able to change my ways in the future. 7. Ask for forgiveness Insincerity might make him reluctant to forgive me. If I could show him my sincerity, I do believe that he would forgive me. I will make my confession later after I have finished answering all these questions. Part three: Gently Restore
Section one: Just Between the Two of You It is said in the gospel of Matthew 5:23-24, before worshipping God, if someone has something against you, be reconciled first with that person then continue to worship God. It is hypocrisy to say that you love God but not love your brother and sister. In this situation, Les has sinned in the way he treats his wife. This kind of treatment hurts her. This offense should no be overlooked because this kind of sin is damaging, hurting and offending others and himself. It should be discussed properly with the person why this matter should be brought up and not just let go like other small instances.
At first, it would be better to talk privately. If he listens, then you have won that person. But if he will not listen, you must take one or two others along so that there will be a witness. This was according to the Gospel of Matt 18:15-16. Section two: Speak the Truth in Love Agreeing is one of the hardest skills in listening because there are instances that it is almost impossible to use it. James 1:19 says that, one must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Therefore I should listen first before saying anything. If I am to speak, I should think a couple of times before saying anything.
And, I should be calm and patient in the responses that the other person might say. I can show charitable judgments by acknowledging not only his negative attitudes towards the conflict but also the positive attitudes. I should also acknowledge his weaknesses that lead hi to sin and his ability stand up again from that situation. It is much better to communicate by letter. This would give the person time to reflect on what his reactions would be unlike on the phone that he should react immediately. This would cause more problems if that would be the case. Before anything else, one should plan what he or she should say.
The issues that need to be addressed The issues should be specific at direct to the point so that the other person would not be confused with what I am trying to say. For instance I would say that this letter is in regards with the past conversations that we did regarding conflicts with your wife. The best time and place to talk The best time and place to talk is where the other person would feel that he should act properly for example, inside the church. This would dictate the attitude of the person and would not tempt him to act violently or to act impulsively.
Words and topic to avoid Words that judge the person should be avoided. One must act out of love even if it would hurt the other person. How to offer hope by focusing on the gospel I should include God in our conversation, his goodness and glory. This way he would be enlightened and the Holy Spirit will fill us both. Stories or comparison that the other person might like I should site examples of success regarding the actions I am implementing on him. How others’ lives were changed and they become better persons. “I” statements using words that describe your feelings
I should describe what I am feeling so that he too would be encouraged to describe what he feels. The benefits that would be produced by cooperating to find a solution I should explain to him that if we work together, anything that is difficult would be lessened. We both have the same goal and it is to please our God. Therefore it is but right to work as a team. Section three: Take One or Two Others Along The issues and conflicts in the situation are to serious to look away from because it involves hurting another person in this case, his wife. It is a moral obligation for us to help those who are hurt by another person.
To do nothing is a sin of omission. There are people who could help to resolve the dispute. These could also be members of our church that he had known for the longest time. These people could help come up with a solution to the problem. To encourage him to allow for another person to be with us as we resolve this problem, I would give him the advantages. An example is that they would serve as witnesses and middle-man between the two of us. He or she would act as a judge as we presented our points. If the other person refused to work voluntarily with others, it is necessary to involve the church.
If I am to consider filing a lawsuit after all other avenues has been exhausted, it would no satisfy biblical conditions because God said, you must forgive as I have forgive you. Part four: Go and Be Reconciled Section one: Forgive as God Forgave You Psalm 103:12 God has forgiven us completely. When he forgives, he puts away our sins away from us . Psalm 130:3 It says that the Lord forgives and forgets. He doesn’t keep records of our sins but he forgives us completely and doesn’t look back because if he did, no one could be saved because all of us our sinners. Corinthians 13:5 The passage is about true love. It says that love endures and it does not have violence nor has anything to do with evil. If you love, you forgive. Ephesians 4:32 The passage commands us to be kind and tenderhearted to one another. It says that we should forgive each other as Jesus Christ himself forgave us. Colossians 3:13 (New King James Version) The reading, like the former one, tells us to forgive one another. It commands us to follow Christ’s example of mercy and forgiveness. By God’s grace… I will not ponder on this incident.
I will not bring this incident up and use it against you. I will not disclose to others about this incident. I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our relationship. I think the last one is the hardest among all the promises. It is for the reason that the outcome of that promise would depend on the two of us unlike the previous promises which would solely depend on me. The point of this passage was, if you ask for forgiveness, you should forgive too. If you do not forgive, our God will surely will not forgive you. Every actions starts with thoughts.
If you start it in your mind, that you forgive someone completely, then it would move you to say it into words. You can do this by thinking about how God forgave us and saved us from our sin. Think about how God became man and suffered greatly before dying on the cross to save us. How he saved us from the wrath of God by saying that we do not know what we are doing as we persecute and cheered for his crucifixion. If we think about this, whatever it is that we have against our brothers will be as small as sand compared to what Jesus did. Then, we should ask the Holy Spirit to give us the grace to forgive and give us a merciful heart.
If we trust in the Lord, he will give us grace. Section two: Look Also to the Interests of Others The passage tells us that those who possess wisdom are to understand the best way to settle things but the fools would be aiming to cheat. If we choose to do good, we will have mercy and truth but if we do evil, we would go astray and loose God’s grace. We should consider and affirm the concerns of the other person. We should be wise and choose the best way to solve the problem and not put ourselves first. There are no material issues concerning the dispute.
God’s interest is the one is morally right and the one that gives priority to the general public one that would benefit most if not all. My position is the same. If it is morally right and it benefits the general public, I would definitely choose that. But if it violates one of the conditions especially the first one, that would be another story. More considerations should be done first. I think the action that I chose would be the most effective among all solutions. This option could be objectively evaluated by reaction first of Les, the reaction of the church, and the reaction of his family.
Also, this could be evaluated by the amount of change that would take place on Les attitude. Section three: Overcome Evil with Good I am not yet in that position where I would want to hurt him physically. The weapon God is telling us to use is the truth, righteousness, the Gospel and most of all, faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of Spirit which is the Word of God and prayers. This effects of these will be love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This would be the proof that you are on the right path.
The Word of God has always been a shield against evil. It is our “connection” to our God. It is practically, God talking to us. So, it is God that encourages us to do well and to do His will. There is nothing on earth that is more encouraging than having your God stood beside you. It is said that I should bless those who persecute us. Therefore, I would do what God commands. I would not curse because I would be cursing myself if I do that but if I bless and I pray for them, I would be blessing myself and praying for myself. Those who love you would not stand on the corner and will watch as you fall.
A true friend would choose to hurt you to save you than not to hurt you and let you fall on the ground. It is better to get hurt with the truth than to feel good with a lie. I should continue doing right and do not do anything evil even if others provoke me. If all hope is gone, I should just entrust it to God. For God said, vengeance is mine, I will repay. God allow things to happen because it is for the best. Conclusion: This tool has helped a lot in terms of processing my actions on the dispute. If I am to have a conflict again, I would definitely consider to use again this tool as a guide.