Thoughts on Peacemaking, Part 1

Mike Welborn is a longtime friend of Eric and UCH. We hope you find encouragement in his practical words.

“Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness” (James 3:18 TLB).

Our natural tendency is to hate our enemies or at least to avoid them at all cost. But if you run from conflict, you’re going to be miserable most of your life. Jesus calls us to a higher standard. He calls us to be peacemakers — not peacekeepers. There’s a huge difference. Peacekeepers avoid conflict and pretend it doesn’t exist. But peacemakers resolve conflict and reconcile relationships.

The Bible promises this: “Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness” (James 3:18 TLB).

When you plant a seed, you always get back more than you started with. If you plant an apple seed, you get a whole tree full of apples in return. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. If you plant a seed of conflict, you’ll wind up with a lot more trouble than you bargained for. But the Bible says if you plant seeds of peace, you will reap a harvest of peace, kindness, and goodness in return.

So how do you do that? One of the most important life skills that you will ever learn is conflict resolution. Over the next two weeks we will cover seven keys to becoming a peacemaker in the midst of conflict. Here are the first three.

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  • Make the first move. Don’t wait for the person to come to you. You take the initiative. Buy that person a cup of coffee or go to lunch together. Jesus took the initiative to show mercy to us. The Bible says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us …. While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son”(Romans 5:8b, 10a ESV). Jesus didn’t wait for us to apologize. He didn’t even wait for us to feel bad about our behavior. Jesus made the first move. And he wants us to do the same thing.
  • Ask God for wisdom. God is always glad to help you when you’re doing what he says. The Bible says, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you”(James 1:5a TLB). Ask God to help you decide the right time and the right place to plan a peace conference. Ask him to give you the right words to say and the right way to say them. The Bible says, “The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver”(Proverbs 25:11 CEV).
  • Start with your own confession. Don’t start with a bunch of accusations. Don’t start with the ways you’ve been hurt. Start with what’s your fault. The conflict may be 99.99999 percent the other person’s fault. But you can find something to confess. Instead of accusing the other person — and instead of excusing yourself — start with your own mistakes, even if it was your poor response. But you begin with what was your fault.

Peacemaking isn’t a well-developed skill in our world today, but it’s a skill that can be learned. In fact, Jesus calls all believers to be peacemakers. We will post part two of this installment next month when we look at four more keys to biblical peacemaking.

Graduation Gift

It’s that time of year! Announcements are arriving in the mailbox and the calendar is filling up with graduation ceremonies and parties.

We have the perfect gift to help send the graduates in your life on to the next chapter!

We have the perfect gift!

Who Are You? for Teens

Identity is a huge issue for teens today. This booklet written by teens for teens is an easy read for the teenagers in your life. They will be grounded in their true identity in Christ and find hope, confidence and purpose.

Depression and Four Tools to Combat it

Depression and Four Tools to Combat it

I’m going to be real honest here. The last few months have been rough. I have felt like I’ve been in a valley. There have been a number of factors that have contributed, ranging from the holidays, to helping our elderly neighbors sell all of their belongings and move into a nursing home, to working through learning disabilities in our homeschool, to normal everyday teenage issues and finally ministry. I have felt guilt-driven and burned out!

As a homeschool mom, I think this is a common challenge. We are basically on all day long and our husband and kids count on us to be a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear to gripe to! It can get heavy and overwhelming to try to keep our peace. Sometimes I can be surrounded by people, yet feel all alone!

It has been rough, but God is faithful and he has shown me some valuable resources to help me work through.

The Gospel Transformation Bible is so helpful in showing Jesus (always our hope) in all of scripture. At one point, I told Eric I was having trouble digging in. He encouraged me to just focus in on the Psalms. That did me a lot of good.

This little booklet is a must read. It is simple and short and filled with hope and encouragement. It can be read in one sitting and I have gone through it MANY times. It gives a very clear step by step approach to dealing with depression from a solid, biblical perspective. Amazon has a kindle version or you can buy a pack of five from the publisher. My guess is you will want to buy the set so that you have some to give away!

This is a year-long devotional has encouraging truths about the gospel and its application to everyday circumstances. I have read it and am going through a second time now. It also makes a great gift. Last year, a friend gave a copy to all the graduates in our church. Excellent idea!

This is a good read for anyone who struggles with people pleasing. Certainly, that’s an issue for me! I think often times moms can take on a responsibility for their kids which extends beyond where it is intended. Paul Tripp jokingly calls it trying to be the fourth person in the Trinity. We feel like our children’s well being is up to us. This book helps to get things back into perspective!

Ordering These Resources Through Amazon Smile Supports
Uniting Church and Home

On a side note, do you shop at Amazon? All of these resources can be found at Amazon. We don’t have an affiliate relationship set up, but you can support our ministry by joining Amazon Smile. Nothing is different about your amazon shopping experience (prices, prime, etc) you just have to place your orders through the smile.amazon link.

Learn more about Amazon Smile here.
You could be raising funds for UCH simply by shopping!
Click here to select UCH as your charity of choice.

Encouragement to Forgive

Forgiveness is not a popular topic these days. We know we should forgive but in our worst moments, we might rather just get even. Forgiveness can seem hard, complicated, and sometimes we rationalize that it is the thing “I just can’t do”. This is especially true in relationships where we have been hurt time and time again by a spouse, child, sibling, or friend. Following are two important points to remember that will help you forgive others.

First, we forgive because we have been forgiven by Christ. Consider Ephesians 4:32. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” To me, this sounds like a model for forgiveness. How does God forgive us? His forgiveness is limitless. He forgives every offense: the big ones and the little ones. His forgiveness is offered and granted in love and is not grudging. He really does forgive and promises never to bring our sin up against us ever again. How do we measure up to his example?

Our ability to forgive others is based on our own experience of being forgiven by God. When we find it difficult to forgive others, instead of mustering will-power, we should ask God for a deeper understanding of our own sin so that we can confess it and receive God’s forgiveness. Are we daily confessing sin? Are we daily receiving his forgiveness? If so, that will go a long way toward empowering us to quickly and eagerly forgive others.

Second, forgiveness restores and builds relationships. Our relationship with God is restored by His forgiveness of us thru Jesus Christ. All relationships depend on and are strengthened by mutually forgiving one another. When we sin against another person, a wedge is driven between us. When we forgive someone we are saying in real terms that they are more important than whatever happened. This also means that we are willing to absorb the cost that real forgiveness requires. This begins with the conscious decision not to hold their sin against them. But this could include other costs such as your own time, inconvenience, absorbing emotional costs or the even the cost to replace something the person cannot afford to replace themselves.

One of the miracles of forgiveness is the restoration it can produce in relationships. When forgiveness is sincerely requested and graciously given, a relationship passes an important test that enables it to grow; actually making the relationship stronger. Of course, there are situations where significant sins or sins that have been a pattern can set relationships back. Forgiveness can be granted, but perhaps trust needs to be restored. This will take time. However, only forgiveness provides the necessary foundation upon which rebuilding can be accomplished.

Working closely in a business can resemble a family; distrust, competition or real cooperation. Harmony builds a team, a family and a business. I’ll never forget a time as work when a senior manager of another department called me at 5 pm to advise me that the next day one of my engineers would report to him! I had a major melt down and stomped out feeling satisfied that my response registered my anger over his stealing one of my best engineers. On the drive home, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sinful, angry response. Early the next morning I was in the manager’s office and asked him to forgive me for the way I responded. His response: “Ok… if you are sorry”. This presented the opportunity to explain the difference between “sorry – I got caught” and “forgive – a contract to want to work together”. Our personal relationship grew stronger and the new quality control group the engineer developed improved the reputation of our products.

Are you struggling to forgive someone? If so, be encouraged first that God has forgiven you for your sins. The Psalmist tells us as far as the east is from the west, so has God removed our sins from us. This provides a powerful motive for forgiving others. Second, forgiveness provides a foundation upon which restoration of the relationship can take place. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy your relationships? Forgiveness makes that possible; with God and with others.

Lightsey Wallace is Executive Director of The Psalm 119 Project. To receive a FREE e-copy of his Psalm 119 devotional, please email him at jlwallace6@mindspring.com.

 

Books For Men With NO Time to Read!

Books For Men With NO Time to Read!

Months ago, I published an article recommending 10 books every father should have on his bookshelf. Today, I am adding to that list!

The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in cooperation with New Growth Press has published a list of 116 mini-books covering about every type of issue you can face in your home. A partial list is provided below.

  • Each booklet is small, only about 4″ x 7″.
  • Each booklet is very brief, only about 25 pages and immediately practical, powerful, and encouraging.
  • I have referred to many of these mini-books, many times over the past several years. What a blessing to be able to get quick answers without having to read a typical 200 page book!
  • I purchased about 50 of these min-books and placed them in a special box that my wife and children can pick up and read as needed. They have proven to be a tremendous help to all of us.
  • The best deal on these mini-books is found at wtsbooks.com.
Partial List
Depression
Anger
Marriage
Stress
Priorities
Pornography
Depression
Suicide
Worry
Thankfulness
Pleasure
OCD
Domestic Abuse
Child Abuse
Bad Memories
ADD
Forgiveness
Pre-Engagement
Procrastination
Self-Injury
Grief
Just One More
Who Should I Date?
Teens and Sex
Suffering
Homoexuality
Sexual Sin
Sexual Addiction
Sex before Marriage
Restoring Your Broken Marriage
How to Talk to Your Kid About Sex
How to Love Difficult People
Family Feuds
Eating Disorders
A Father’s Guide to Raising Boys/Girls