Thursday, March 01, 2007
Peace is not the absence of conflict. I don't remember where I first heard that, but there is a great deal of truth there. Peace is far more than not fighting. It is intentionally taking steps to get along with our friends, acquaintances and those who just make us grind our teeth. It is what the Lord did by reconciling himself to us, and we are well-advised to follow His lead.
Recently I attended a session on resolving conflict, and the presenters were singing the praises of Peacemaker Ministries. I find their approach intriguing, and a bit less harsh than some of the Matthew 18 folks I have come across. Peacemaker Ministries advocates creating a culture of peace, and acknowledges that it takes time to change learned patterns of behavior.
Last year I heard a chapel service at Asbury Theological Seminary by Dr. Christine Pohl on "Creating a culture of grace and truth" that dovetails nicely with this topic. One of the requirements for peace is honest dealing with each other, and the difficulties we face. This week I finally received closure to a conflict that I mistakenly thought was resolved nearly two years ago. But a discussion that needed to happen was held, and I believe that it is done. I can't begin to describe the load that was lifted off when that happened.
If you are in a culture that is not peaceful, prayerfully look at the Peacemaker Ministries info and how you might integrate it into your church. Strife impairs our witness and impedes the Kingdom of God. Peace enhances our witness. The world needs to see the Peace of our Lord.