Cultivating a Culture of Peace

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

(James 3:17-18, ESV)
 
 
The Bible calls us to cultivate a culture of peace.  After all, the gospel is a gospel of peace.  It is a gospel which declares that since the time of Adam’s sin, there have been two parties in conflict: God and humanity.  Since Adam’s sin, everyone one of us was born into this world as God’s enemy: hostile in mind and engaged in evil deeds (Colossians 1:21) against God (Romans 8:7).
 
The most holy God had every right to declare the differences between Him and us irreconcilable.  Nevertheless, in His wisdom God chose to send His Son, Jesus Christ to be the instrument of reconciliation between us and God (1 Timothy 2:5) by pouring out His just wrath on the sinless Christ in order that through Christ’s substitutionary death, we who believe in Christ would have eternal life (Colossians 1:22).
 
Therefore, through Christ, we have been reconciled to God and are given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  As ministers of reconciliation, we proclaim this same message to all the world that all peoples may be reconciled to God through the death of Christ.  But our ministry of reconciliation does not end there, for we must continue living in the light of the reconciling work of Christ. Consequently, we must live our lives reconciled to one another.
 
Even though we Christians have been reconciled to God through Christ, far too many professing Christians still live in conflict with others.  Such conflict manifests itself in certain marriages, homes, workplaces, even church relationships.  Unfortunately, many of us address disputes according to the wisdom of the world, instead of the wisdom from above.  Therefore, Christians have as many divorces as non-Christians; they stop talking to co-workers or fellow Christians; they leave churches over conflict, or churches may even split over such issues.
 
What kind of Christian testimony do we offer if we are reconciled to God through Christ but fail to be reconciled to one another?  One of the most powerful witnesses we can provide our community is the witness of reconciled relationships that flow from being reconciled to God.  If we are to live in such an atmosphere, then we must cultivate a culture of peace.  According to Ken Sande, author of The Peacemaker, a culture of peace is a culture where “people are eager and able to resolve conflict and reconcile relationships in a way that clearly reflects the love and power of Jesus Christ” (291).  If we are to cultivate such a culture of peace, then we must have a biblical strategy for resolving conflict.  Sande offers the following counsel (the four “G’s”):
 

 Glorify God(1 Corinthians 10:31).  Our entire lives must be motivated by a desire to glorify God.

 

Get the log out of your eye(Matthew 7:5).  We must first look at our own hearts in order to discern our contributions to conflicts.
 

Gently restore(Galatians 6:1).  The Bible gives us explicit instruction in approaching those with whom we have conflict.

 

Go and be reconciled(Matthew 5:24).  Once we have addressed conflict, we must be willing to restore relationships.
 
I invite you to join me in helping to create and cultivate a culture of peace here at High Pointe.  Let us be about God’s glory, and let us address conflict biblically by first looking at our own hearts, then approaching one another with the goal of reconciled relationships that give evidence to the fact that we are a people reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
 
Love,