Great Ideas from the book called Peacemakers by Ken Sande.
Last week I talked to you about the teachings of Jesus known as the Beatitudes. One of the Beatitudes is this: 9”You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight (ie being a ‘peacemaker’). That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
Wouldn’t be good if we could learn how to resolve conflicts among ourselves or with our friends and other people we know? Imagine how much better life could be for you and for your children.
Here is the first part of 12 key principles that peacemakers young and old need to learn. As you learn them, why not teach them to your children:
- Conflict is a slippery slope. People have different ways of responding to conflict. Some people try to escape from a conflict, while others try to solve it by going on the attack. Few people naturally try to work it out.
- a) Escape Responses: These responses are used to get away from a conflict instead of trying to resolve it. They delay healing because the conflict is never faced and dealt with. Here are some of the escape responses.
- Denial–Pretending that a conflict does not exist or refusing to do what we can to work it out
- Blame Game–Blaming others for the problem, pretending we did nothing wrong, covering up what we did, lying
- Running Away–Prolonging the problem by running away from the other person
- b) Attack Responses: These are mistaken attempts to win a fight rather than resolve it. They damage a relationship further rather than repairing it. These include:
- Put Downs–Attacking others with harsh and cruel words, stirring up anger in others
- Gossip–Talking about others behind their backs
- Fighting–Using physical force to get our way
- c) Work-It-Out Responses: These are the only good ways to respond to a conflict.
- Overlook an Offense–Dealing with an offense yourself by simply deciding to forgive a wrong
- Talk-It-Out–Going directly to the other person to talk out your disagreements
- Get Help–Asking someone like a trusted, wise friend or even a counselor to help you decide how to handle the conflict you are involved in
- Conflict starts in the heart. The choices we make to get our own way are deliberate. We decide whether to be obedient or disobedient, wise or foolish, caring or unloving. We decide whether to escape, retaliate or to work it out when we face conflict.
- Choices have consequences. For good or bad, the choices we make will affect us and others. Conflict is often the consequence of a choice we have made. It is good for children to face the fact early on that the way we respond to conflict can have a profound effect on ourselves and others.
- Wise-way choices are better than my-way choices. Selfishness is not smart and will not lead to happiness. Ask your children, “Is this a wise-way choice or a my-way choice?” The wise way is to:
- obey authority,
- make right choices,
- seek godly advice and
- respect others
The blame game makes conflict worse. It doesn’t work to point the finger at someone else, cover up one’s own bad choices, or make excuses.
Being a Peacemaker Part 2
Last week we looked at the ways that people respond to conflict. We saw that:
- Conflict is a slippery slope with different ways of responding.
- Escape Responses which never see conflict resolved
- Attack Responses which just make conflict worse, and the best plan:
- Work-It-Out Responses which are a balanced way to resolve conflict.
We also saw that:
- Conflict starts in the heart
- Choices have consequences
- Wise-way choices are better than my-way choices, and
- The blame game makes conflict worse.
Below are the final and positive ways of looking at conflict. Please share these with your children.
- Conflict is an opportunity. By handling it right we get a chance to:
- glorify God,
- serve others and
- become better people.
Conflict is not necessarily bad or destructive. Even when conflict is caused by wrong-doing and causes a great deal of stress, it can lead to good.
These concepts are totally overlooked in most conflicts because people naturally focus on escaping from the situation or on overcoming/beating their opponent.
Therefore, it is wise to step back from a conflict and ask yourself whether you are doing all you can to take advantage of these special opportunities.
- The “Five A’s” can resolve conflict. These simple steps will almost always lead to peace. Children, like adults, can learn to confess their wrongs in a way that demonstrates they are taking full responsibility for their part in a conflict.
- Admit what you did wrong. Include both wrong desires and bad choices.
- Apologize for how your choice affected the other person. Express the sorrow you feel.
- Accept the consequences for your wrongdoing without argument or excuses.
- Ask for forgiveness.
- Alter your choice in the future. Think over and plan how you are going to act differently next time.
Why not practise these “Five A’s” at home as you deal with sibling rivalry or with other conflicts? Next week I will look at forgiveness.
“Finally…be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
Being a Peacemaker Part 3
Over the two weeks before Easter we have looked at the ways that people respond to conflict and some helpful hints as to how to overcome conflict. Last week we learned:
The “Five A’s” that can solve conflict
- Admit what you did wrong.
- Apologize for how your choice affected the other person. Accept the consequences for your wrongdoing without argument or excuses.
- Ask for forgiveness.
- Alter your choice in the future.
This week we will look at forgiveness. This is most appropriate after EASTER where Jesus died on the Cross to offer forgiveness for our sins, when we have let Him down.
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.
- a) False Ideas about Forgiveness
You need to feel like forgiving before you can really forgive. (Wrong. It’s a choice you make, not a feeling.)
- Forgiveness means forgetting about what someone did to hurt you. (Wrong. We may not forget but we no longer dwell on our disappointment.)
- Forgiveness excuses the other person’s sin. (Wrong. Their sin is up to the other person, not us.)
- Forgiveness depends on getting a guarantee that someone won’t do the same wrong thing again. (Wrong. We have no power over what others do, only what we choose to do).
By forgiving someone we are making four promises.
- b) Four Promises of Forgiveness
- I promise I will not dwell on what you did wrong. I will think good thoughts about you and do good for you.
- I promise I will not bring up this situation and use it against you.
- I promise I will not talk to others about what you did.
- I promise I will be friends with you again, but maybe not immediately and only where it is safe to do so.
Think before you speak. Or before you act. Or before you confront someone because respectful communication is more likely to be heard. This includes the words we speak, our tone of voice and our body language (making eye contact and avoiding bad gestures, facial expressions or posture).
I hope these words which reflect God’s desire for us to be peacemakers who are patient, self-disciplined, kind and slow to anger, will help to make your home or workplace a happier place to be, so that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Mrs Sue Skuthorpe