Tag Archives: Peacemakers

A Peacemaker’s Advent: the Shepherds

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  Luke 2:17-18

The Shepherds had a pretty simple, but critical role in the Christmas story, right?  Go and observe, and then tell the truth about what you heard and observed.  They did not elaborate…they did not speculate about anyone’s intentions or possible motives…they did not add their own opinions into the mix.  They heard from the angels, observed the baby Jesus, and then they simply reported what they had heard and observed.  They did their job well…God took care of the rest.

As a peacemaker, I could learn a thing or two from the shepherds in the Christmas story.  I could learn to remind myself that my role in the peacemaking process is not complicated.  More times than not, I am merely speaking the truth in love.  The role is actually simple enough unless I find myself beginning to interject my own opinions and speculation about motives and behaviors.  That is when I get myself into trouble.

A peacemaker must speak the truth about what he has heard from God’s Word.  For this reason, faith-based peacemaking is different from the secular concepts of genuine mediation.  It is slightly less conciliatory and slightly more directive, at least in the sense of being grounded in the Word of God as the source of all truth and of all solutions.  Among Christ-followers, there is almost always a spiritual element to conflict.  Spiritual problems demand spiritual solutions…and spiritual solutions come from God’s Word.  For me to be an effective peacemaker in the church, I must be listening to the Word of God and I must be representing it accurately…just like the Shepherds  …

Understanding the Rules of Engagement

Tuesday Re-mix –

My South African friend, Frank, tells a great story about being in a motorcycle gang when he turned his life over to the Lord.  A member of the gang confronted him: “So, I hear you’re a Christian now.”  “That’s right,” said Frank.  The gang member continued, “So, if I hit you, you have to turn the other cheek.”  “That’s right,” said Frank, “That’s what the scripture tells me.”  So the gang member belted Frank, right across the face.  Frank obediently turned the other cheek.  The gang member hit him again, maybe a little harder this time.  Frank straightened himself out, looked back at the gang member…and flattened him.  Then Frank told him, “Scripture gives no further instructions after that.”

It’s important to know the rules of engagement.

In the Christian church, the rules of engagement are all spelled out for us in God’s Word.  The Bible, then, becomes the cultural guideline for all of our interaction with one another, whether in times of conflict or in times of agreement.  In most Christian churches, the Bible is held among the very highest of values.  Understanding that culture (i.e., the rules of engagement), then, requires understanding God’s Word.  I think it is fair to say that, in the church today, one of the critical limiting factors to finding peace with one another is Biblical illiteracy.  By the same token, all of the most effective peacemakers I know in the church, past or present, have had a pretty good working knowledge of scripture.

In the secular world, at least in our culture, the highest value in mediation is the agreement.  In other words, that the parties agree is what matters most.  It doesn’t matter so much whether the agreement is fair or unfair or good or bad.  If the parties

“I see broken relationships…they’re everywhere.”

Tuesday Re-mix –

Peacemaking means a lot of things to a lot of people, even within the context of the church.  There are gentle, non-anxious leaders who are often called peacemakers.  There are true mediator-like people who help resolve conflict.  I believe there are even those who have a Spiritual gift of peacemaking.  In my ministry, I suppose I am a bit of a “collector” of peacemakers.  That is, I have people from all walks of life who have joined me in peacemaking in churches all over the world.  So I can say with some confidence that peacemakers come in all shapes and sizes, and how they do what they do comes in many forms as well.

But I have also come to see some commonalities among them.  There are common experiences and common reactions to circumstances.  There are things all peacemakers do, whether they know it or not.  And that is what this series of posts will address.  I am calling it Habits of Peacemakers.

The first observation is the clearest for me.  Every true peacemaker I have ever known has been given an ability, a “gift”: peacemakers see broken relationships.  Usually, peacemakers see them before most other people see them.  Often, peacemakers see them before the parties themselves even realize the brokenness is there.  I’m sorry for this connection, but I just couldn’t help drawing from a favorite movie of mine.  Maybe you remember it.  M. Night Shyamalan’s best effort yet, in my opinion.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2sDw-XBuKc&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0]

“I see dead people.” Haley Joel Osment’s line will go down in movie history.  And real peacemakers relate to his  character’s problem.  When a genuine peacemaker looks across the landscape of a congregation, even a relatively happy, healthy congregation, he/she sees broken relationships.  Other people see wholeness and happiness and progress.  But for