Step 1—Glory God
On Monday we looked at the first G of peacemaking, which is to see the conflict as an opportunity to bring glory to God. We do this when we trust God to work good through it and act in obedience to His commands. (You should read the post, A People in Conflict, if you have not.)
The second step in peacemaking is to demonstrate how God in is working in your life by taking responsibility for your contribution to the conflict. This can be difficult, especially, when you (like me) can easily see how you are being wronged and are very willing to point out the error of the other person.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 NLT
Jesus makes this seemingly ridiculous statement to show how wrong we are to worry about the sin of others, when we have not dealt with our own sins. To help us identify our role in the conflict, Ken Sande recommends we by start asking God to help us to recognize how we have sinned (Psalm 139:23-24) and listen to wise counsel (Proverbs 19:20). Of course, identifying our sin is only the beginning of the “log removal”, we must act on what we now know to be true. This is where it gets hard…
We should confess our sins (being specific and not making excuse) and ask for forgiveness from God (Psalm 32:5) and all the people we have hurt in the conflict. Much like the prodigal son, we must be willing to confess and accept the consequences (Luke 15:18, 19). We too should look to the example of Zacchaeus and be willing to make it right to those we have wronged (Luke 15:19).
Finally, to keep “the log” from coming back we need change our behavior (Proverbs 28:13). This will only happen as we submit to God and draw near to Him (James 4:7,8). And put into practice the things we learn (Philippians 4:9). It is also important to have a written plan that outlines specific behaviors and the changes that you need to make. It would be best to ask a spiritually mature friend to keep you accountable to reach your goals.
This is an important peacemaking step, even if it does not end the conflict. Your opponent may not accept your apology and not be willing to admit responsibility in the conflict. Just remember…
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18
As for my journey in peacemaking…I met with the woman whom I had been told I hurt. I asked for forgiveness. We had a good discussion. The relationship seemed to be mended or at least on the mend. Unfortunately, I left realizing another person had been speaking to her about me adding to the conflict and to her pain. Now what to do about it-do I confront or do I overlook it? That will be the subject for the next post…