Ken Sande’s book, The Peacemaker, is life changing. If we, as Christians, would learn the biblical truths he writes about in the first chapter alone and apply them, this world would be a better place. I learned so many wonderful truths from this book; I wish I had learned them years ago.
He begins the first chapter explaining that there are 3 basic responses to conflict.
The Assault Response
The Assault Response is what some people, (typically people who are strong and confident), use to overcome an opponent. They would rather win than preserve a relationship. Forms of assault are force, intimidation, gossip, slander, physical violence, or efforts to damage a person financially, professionally, or spiritually. In extreme cases, even murder. People who use this method will do whatever it takes to win against those who oppose them. This is “peace-breaking.”
The Escape Response
The Escape Response shows how some people are more interested in avoiding conflict than resolving it. This attitude is most common within the church. People who respond with escape will use denial to pretend that the conflict or problem does not exist. Others will run away. This can look like ending a friendship, changing churches, or even divorce. Running away only postpones the problem. In extreme cases, some commit suicide. They see no hope of resolving their problems. This is “peace-faking.”
The Peacemaking Response
The Peacemaking Response is what is commanded by God. It glorifies God and resolves conflicts. There is reconciliation, negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and accountability.
When I am focusing on the unbiblical responses of escaping, I am focusing on “me.” I want easy, convenient, and nonthreatening. When I am focusing on the unbiblical response of attacking, I am focusing on “you.” I will blame you, expect you to give in, and solve the problem like I want it resolved. When I am focusing on peacemaking, my focus is on “us.” I am aware of everyone’s interests in the dispute, especially God’s! I am working toward mutual responsibility in solving the problem. Ken Sande states that the four primary causes of conflict are misunderstanding because of poor communication; differences in values, goals, expectations or opinions, and gifts; competition such as time or money; and last, sinful attitudes and habits.
Mr. Sande gets to the heart of the matter and shows us how to look at our own hearts before we attempt to remove the log out of anyone else’s eye. He also uses his expertise and experience as a conciliator to clearly explain how we can use biblical principles to help resolve our conflicts and, most importantly, glorify God in the process.
He uses real life problems, breaks them down, and gives us many ways to deal with the issues, whether it’s a problem we have caused or a problem someone else has caused. At the end of each chapter, he gives a summary and application—all include biblical applications, things to ponder, or a list of things to try to solve.
I loved his stories. There were many different people, with different problems, who were able to resolve great difficulties, whether they were personal, marital, familial, in the workplace, financial, ministerial, and even if the court system needed to be involved. Some people were able to resolve them easily and quickly, others took a lot of time, effort, and self-reflection. What I really loved about The Peacemaker is that Ken Sande gives everyone hope, no matter how difficult the circumstance.
The book is divided into 4 parts.
Get the Log Out of Your Eye
Go and Be Reconciled
And ends with the Peacemaker’s Pledge.
Each part is full of Bible passages that explain how we are to live and treat one another. He thoroughly covers forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, bitterness, communication, speaking the truth in love, and so much more. He adequately covers a myriad of subjects and emotions that can happen in crises.
In my opinion, the first chapter and last 2 chapters are the foundation of being an effective peacemaker. The middle chapters are the nuts and bolts. The how-to’s, if you will. Mr. Sande also provides many extras in the appendices to use as reference points as we need them.
This isn’t a book you can sit down and read quickly. It is a book that you will want to take the time to study, reflect, and prayerfully consider as we deal with our own problems and the problems of others that need an effective, Spirit-filled peacemaker. It is a book that I know I will refer back to again and again.