|Warren Dunes, Bridgeman, Michigan|
If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are a reconciler and a peacemaker. You bring people together. You are not satisfied with division. You are not part of division.
Peacemaking is not the same as peace-loving. Many people love it when there is peace. Peacemaking, however, is hard work requiring depth and discernment. Nonetheless, that is what you are called to be and do. God works through you to heal and restore relationships.
Why does God want to work through me to bring peace? Because:
1) This is what God has done for us, in Christ.
2) We are God's children.
3) We are to do the things Jesus does.
Romans 5:11 tells us to boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Because of Christ's atoning sacrifice, the breach between you and God has been bridged. You have been reconciled to God; thus, you have peace with God. The cross is about many things, not the least of which is reconciliation to God and peace with God.
This is what God does. God brings puzzle pieces together. God makes ways where there seem to be no ways. As one of God's children, you are to do the same. Is this easy?
It's not about "easy" or "hard." The road to Golgotha was not easy for Christ, right? It is about obedience. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says,
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
You have a ministry and message of reconciliation. God makes his appeal through you. So, how is this going for you?
You are a peacemaker. As a result, you are blessed. Few things in life give me the joy of being a part of God bringing people into relationship with him, and bringing people into loving relationship with one another. As Jesus predicted,
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
Are you looking like one of God's children? You are, if you are a peacemaker. And if you are a peacemaker, you are blessed.
The best book I have read on peacemaking and reconciliation in the church is Making Peace: A Guide to Overcoming Church Conflict, by James van Yperen.
For dealing with interpersonal conflict see David Augsburger, Caring Enough to Confront.