The Peace Maker has become a modern classic in the genre of popular level Biblical counseling books. The Peace Maker is Sande’s approach to resolving conflict – which can be summarized by four basic principles.
- Biblical peacemaking is motivated and guided by a deep desire to bring honor to God by revealing the reconciling love and power of Jesus Christ by breaking free from self-centered decisions and actions that often make conflicts worse.
- Attacking others often agitates counterattacks. When we overlook others minor failures and honestly admit our own faults, our opponents will often respond in kind. Once the tension is decreased there is a greater probability that sincere discussion, negotiation, and reconciliation will happen.
- When others fail to see their own contributions to a conflict we must gently and graciously show them their fault, if needed we should follow Jesus teaching and involved respected third parties.
- Peacemaking involves a commitment to restoring damaged relationships and negotiating just agreements. Forgiveness has the power to allow for genuine peace between once warring parties.
Sande offers a helpful plan for responding to others with the aim of finding agreeable solutions to conflict and restoring peace. “These responses are commanded by God, empowered by the gospel, and directed toward finding just mutually agreeable solutions to conflict. (25)”
I found Sande’s chapter on speaking the truth in love especially helpful in guiding how one communicates in a potentially explosive relationship. He argues that one can, with God’s help, learn to speak the truth in love by only saying what will build others up, by listening responsibly to what others say, and by using principles of wisdom.
Sande rightly reminds the reader that while one can provide an abundance of practical techniques for implementing the Biblical principle of peacemaking, these principles by themselves cannot accomplish the end goal in and of themselves. The peacemaking strategy simply provides opportunities for reconciliation, and that’s it. True reconciliation is always a heart issue and can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit in an obedient believer. This foundational principle makes Sande’s method appealing to a confessional pastor like myself. I really appreciated Sande’s “peacemakers pledge” at the end of the volume.
As people reconciled to God by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are called to respond to conflict in a way that is remarkably different from the way the world deals with conflict. We also believe that conflict provides opportunities to glorify God, serve other people, and grow to be like Christ. Therefore, in response to God’s love and in reliance on his grace, we commit ourselves to responding to conflict according to the following principles (259).
His principles are simple – glorify God, get the log out of your own eye, gently restore, and go and be reconciled.