By Juan Sanchez
The Bible calls us to cultivate a culture of peace. After all, the gospel is a gospel of peace. It’s a gospel which declares that since the time of Adam’s sin, there’ve been two parties in conflict: God and humanity.
Since Adam’s sin, every one of us was born into this world as God’s enemy—hostile in mind and engaged in evil deeds against God (Colossians 1:21, Romans 8:7).
The most holy God had every right to declare the differences between us irreconcilable. However, in love, 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, through Christ’s substitutionary death, we who believe in Christ have eternal life (Colossians 1:22).
We’ve Been Given a Ministry of Reconciliation
Therefore, through Christ, we’ve been reconciled to God and have been given a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). As ministers of reconciliation, then, we proclaim this same message to the world that all peoples may be reconciled to God through the death of Christ.
But our ministry of reconciliation doesn’t end there, for we must continue living in the light of the reconciling work of Christ. Thus, we must live our lives reconciled to one another.
Even though Christians are reconciled to God through Christ, far too many professing Christians still live in conflict with others. Such conflict manifests in marriages, homes, workplaces, and even church relationships.
We Have Wisdom From Above at Our Disposal
Unfortunately, many of us address such conflicts according to the wisdom of the world instead of wisdom from above. Therefore, Christians have as many divorces as non-Christians or stop talking to coworkers or fellow Christians. They might leave churches over conflict or even lead churches to split.
What kind of Christian testimony do we offer if we’re 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’re 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.”
We Need a Strategy
If we’re to cultivate such a culture of peace in our churches, then we must have a biblical strategy for resolving conflict. Sande offers the following counsel, otherwise known as the four Gs:
- Glorify God A desire to glorify God must motivate our entire lives (1 Corinthians 10:31).
- Get the log out of your eye We must first look at our own hearts to discern our contributions to conflicts (Matthew 7:5).
- Gently restore The Bible gives clear instruction in approaching those with whom we have conflict (Galatians 6:1).
- Go and be reconciled Once we’ve addressed conflict, we must be willing to restore relationships (Matthew 5:24).
Let’s invite our church members to help us create and cultivate a culture of peace in our churches. As we walk together in peace, may we showcase to others the power of the gospel and the beauty of Christ in us.