September 16, 2008
Peacemaking Made Simple, Part 2 w/Ken Sande
Sooner or later conflict will come but how you handle it makes all the difference in the world. And there’s going to be a lot of conflict in the days and weeks ahead in Texas, especially around Houston, with the passing of Hurricane Ike. I’m Charles Morris and welcome to Haven Today, telling the great story that’s all about Jesus. This is part 2 with Ken Sande of a program called “Peacemaking Made Simple”. A little later on in the program I want to tell you how to get a copy of the book “Peacemakers, Student Edition: Handling conflict without fighting back or running away”. But don’t let that fool you, this is a book for adults as well as students and it’s a book for people who have just survived a hurricane. So stay with us as we begin first by worshipping the Lord together.
Welcome back again to Haven Today and we are going to be peacemaking for the second day in a row. Hopefully we do that every day as we tell the great story that’s all about Jesus but on the line with us from Billings, Montana is my brother in Christ, Ken Sande, founder of Peacemaker Ministries. Ken welcome back to the program.
KS: thanks so much. Great to be here.
CM: Hey, we dug into quite a bit of material yesterday with you on with us. We posted that on our website if somebody wants to hear it again. I can remember just the other day I was walking into a little business, going into the cleaners, and I heard this man from a distance, loudly, loudly shouting obscenities over and over again and I turned around and there almost a block away, at an intersection was a cable TV repair man, technician, in his van screaming into his cell phone, I assume to his supervisor or dispatcher. I winced at that but we all come into conflict, don’t we? That cable guy is not alone and we talked yesterday about in our homes and it’s back to school time and we may have been away from each other over the summer but families are back together now. We really need to know how to make peace, don’t we?
KS: We do. I always say I’ve got great job security until the Lord comes back.
CM: Well, yes as long as the Lord tarries, using that old word we use in the church sometimes, and Satan still is bounding around the earth we’re going to have conflicts. And we even have conflicts in churches and Christian homes and even though we had you talk more about it yesterday just tell us briefly what your ministry does and has done for the last 20 years.
KS: Our mission is to equip and assist Christians and their churches to respond to conflict biblically. We started off helping Christians with law suits and helping them learn how they could go to the church to get mediation/arbitration services in the body of Christ so they wouldn’t have to go to court but most of our work now is actually doing education, training Christian leaders and providing them with resources, small group, Sunday School, youth materials that they can use to change the culture of their church so people’s attitudes, their confidence, their skills, their habits are all geared towards reconciliation. And we’re now teaching this material all around the world, 13 different languages, conflicts all the way from the sandbox to the courtroom and seeing God do incredible things.
CM: And of course your original book, “The Peacemaker” has been out now, it’s in it’s 3rd edition, 20 years I think you said. And it’s been helping a lot of people. It’s translated in other languages but in particular I wanted to have you on because you have a brand new Student Edition out which I recommend 70 year old students read, not just teenagers because in a nutshell, you’ve told believers how to get along and resolve differences, haven’t you?
KS: Well, actually God has done that, as you and I both know Charles. What the Student Edition does, it’s like a road map. It pulls together all the things in the scriptures in an organized fashion so if you’re looking about how do I make a good confession, here’s the Bible verses to guide you. If you want to know, when and how do I forgive? Here’s the scriptures that give you promises and a hope and example. So it’s something you can use as a road map into God’s Word and see the wealth of wisdom and hope and promises God gives to us through the scriptures, particularly through the messages of Jesus Christ.
CM: Well, speaking of Jesus Christ, you do something that is warm to my heart as well. You start by talking about grace, not just giving simple steps that if you follow these steps you’re guaranteed to have conflict resolution. That’s something that the world is good at but the world is not very good at actually resolving conflict. Why start with grace first?
KS: Well, our nature is not to deal with grace, it’s to bring the law. And we see clearly what others have done wrong, we’re quick to see their faults, to confront them. We’re quick to cover up and excuse ours. And grace is that tremendous gift we have from God of undeserved kindness and favor, forgiveness and mercy. And when we start off in that note, in fact we use an expression “breathing God’s grace”, as we breathe in God’s grace, as we study his Word, pray, enjoy fellowship, worship with saints, experience the benefits of God’s goodness it’s like taking a deep breath of fresh mountain air, then you can breathe it out onto other people and what they see in us is kindness, gentleness, forgiveness in the way we relate to them and this is really what fuels the “4 G’s” we talked about yesterday, to Glorify God, Get the log out of your own eye, Gently restore and Go and be reconciled, when we stand in awe of God’s matchless grace, we’re just amazed at what he’s done, we find more joy in glorifying God than in pursing our own selfish ends. And when we realize that God has mercy on those who confess our sins then that takes away our defensiveness, we’re able to confess our wrongs. If we accept and benefit from the way the Gospel lovingly shows us our sins and we see that we’ve really been benefited then we’re inspired to gently correct and restore others, the same way that God does with us. And finally, if we rejoice in the liberating forgiveness we have in God then we want to forgive others the same way he’s forgiveness us. You see it’s through the Gospel, through God’s grace we have both a model and the motivation for peacemaking.
CM: Now even as a believer in Christ for many years, I still find myself wanting to see the wrong in someone else and certainly I enjoy pointing that out to them too, and I never want to look at my own self. So I guess that that never really goes away totally does it, until we’re finally with Christ, with Jesus face to face.
KS: You know we’re in good company Charles. I came across a quote recently from Augustine, one of the great pillars of the church and one of his prayers was “Lord deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.”
CM: I always want to be right.
CM: But I’m not, I’m wrong much of the time!
KS: We are, we are and there’s such freedom in that though. And what’s amazing is you know God’s counsel clashes head on with the world. The world says vindicate yourself, defend yourself, excuse yourself. God says that he opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. He says we find mercy when we confess. And this is something I’ve taught my children ever since they were little. There’s a proverb, “He who conceals his sin does not prosper but he who confesses and renounces it finds mercy.” And my children have really learned this. In fact my son came to me just this morning and confessed something and he knew when he came into my room to confess this thing that he wasn’t going to get a lecture, that he wasn’t going to have it thrown in his face. What he knew he was going to get was a gentle, understanding conversation to help him understand what was going on in his heart as he did it, how that played out in his behavior, so he could understand better himself how to defend against this in the future and that it would end in a hug and saying, “Jeff, I forgive you.” There’s 4 promises he always hears when I forgive him. I say, “Jeff, I promise I’m not going to dwell on this or brood on it. I promise I’m not going to throw this back against you in the future. I promise I’m not going to talk to others about it. I’m not going to let this stand between us or hinder our relationship.” And at the end of it I give him a big hug to demonstrate, “We are restored, Son.” And what he’s seen hundreds of times Charles, is when he confesses, what he can look forward to is real reconciliation.
Cm: Do you cover that in the book, the Student Edition of “The Peacemaker”?
KS: We do. We cover, we cover how to make that confession in the book and we cover those promises. In fact I love the – it’s not in this book, it’s in the children’s book – my wife reduced that, those 4 promises to a very simple little formula, “Good thought, Hurt you not, Gossip never, Friends forever.”
CM: How precious. You know, it’s kind of interesting. I can think back at times, I’m thinking one instance where I was working and living with people who were coming out of the side of Christianity that always has its doctrine right but maybe not its getting along with other believers right and there were some people out to get me and I was hurt, I was wounded. And of course, I was doing the good Christian thing, I was fighting back like you’re not supposed to do but that’s what I was doing. But one day I was praying and reflecting on what they were doing to try to get me and it dawned on me how guilty I was of the very same sins they were committing against me, I was in turn committing against them. That’s the way it is living in a fallen world, isn’t it, even for believers?
KS: It is and ironically, often what upsets us the most are the very things that we do.
CM: Yes, yes! Preach it to me Ken! Why do you think that’s the case? Why do we always want to be right?
KS: Well, gods are perfect. Gods always are right and we all want to be gods. We set up our mini kingdoms and we have our rules and our laws. We want everybody to bow to those things. We are always trying to usurp God’s position and be, make ourselves god. In fact one of the main things we teach in our material – this is really actually one of the most liberating concepts in peacemaking – it’s the concept of idolatry. And you know, we often think of idolatry as little statues they had, you know, thousands of years ago they’d bow down to but we have idols every day in our lives. An idol is anything that you look to for security, trust, happiness, safety, whatever, above God. So it could be your job, it could be your children, it could be the praise of friends, it could be having the fanciest car in the parking lot, anything that we look to, to make us happy apart from God that starts to control us and there’s a process we use in evaluating conflict, helping people see what’s really going on underneath the surface. We call it the progression of an idol. And most conflicts are described by James 4:1. It says, “What causes fights and quarrels among us? Don’t they come from our desires that battle within us?” We want something but don’t get it. And sometimes what we want, it starts off as a good thing but it begins to consume us. And so the progression of an idol, the way these things build in us, we start off with “I desire something. I’d like something. Maybe I’d like to have people respect me, I’d like to do well on the test, I’d like to get a good position on the football team, I’d like my parents to trust me, give me some freedom, those are good things and that’s fine
CM: Yes, yes.
KS: but the next step is where we get into trouble. It’s not just “I desire” but “I demand and if I can’t have it I won’t be happy and I will not rest until I get it.” And this is where it starts to control our hearts. We become like a planet revolving around the sun of this desire, this demand. There can be good goods but they make bad gods. And the next step is, when we demand something then we start to judge. I condemn the people that stand in my way, “My dad won’t let me go to the prom. My mom won’t trust me with this. She won’t let me wear this to school.” And we start to judge, we start to condemn in our hearts and then that inevitably leads us to the fourth level which is, “I punish. I’m going to get back at the people.” Now it might be something as shouting match, sometimes there’s physical violence that teens do, but usually with teens, the way they punish their parents, they become withdrawn and sullen. They cut off their mom and dad from their lives, they pull into their room and they know it hurts their parents, they know it. They know it hurts.
CM: It’s not devious, they just are silent.
KS: They just are silent. Now they sometimes they know it. This is my, one of my weaknesses too. If I’m really unhappy with somebody I can easily fall into withdrawal mode and it’s a way of punishing,
KS: basically saying, “Listen, I’m not getting what I want. You’re standing in the way and if you want a good relationship with me then you better shape up and until you do you’re going to just find I’m a little bit cooler, a little more withdrawn than normal.” It’s a subtle but manipulative way of bending people to our will so as we understand these things we sort of work backwards up that chain from, “I punish” by saying, “Now, how am I hurting this person. What am I doing? Why am I doing it? What, how am I judging that person? How am I thinking they’ve done wrong? What demand is fueling this and what is the initial desire that may have been good but it’s begun to consume me?” When people can go deep into their hearts and see the things that control them and ask God’s forgiveness for elevating those things to the level of an idol. Ask for his grace in forgiving our sins and to come into our hearts, fill us with such a joy in Christ that in Christ alone we have all we need. It doesn’t matter if these other things don’t happen. They’d be pleasant but life will not end and I won’t be miserable. And we can find our contentment in God. There’s a great passage in Psalm 37. The psalmist David talks about delighting ourselves in the Lord and he’ll give us the desires of our heart. That’s not a genie in a bottle thing, “Lord I delight in you now give me a BMW.” It’s, “Lord, I delight in you and I want the best thing in the world which is more of you.” And it’s a beautiful sight.
CM: It certainly is. If you just joined us you’re listening to Haven Today. I’m Charles Morris. On with us is Ken Sande, he is the founder and head of Peacemaker Ministry which has just released a Student Edition of “The Peacemaker”. Now Ken, I said this yesterday when we were together. I recommended that parents read this book first and then give it to their kids. Now that’s in a Christian home but we occasionally hear from teenagers who have met the Lord, they know Jesus Christ but they are living in a non-Christian home or maybe one of their parents might be a Christian, the other is not. And there’s going to be a conflict there over lack of faith on the part of the parent but also just conflict that just comes up from everyday living. What advice would you have for the teenager or the 20 something who’s met the Lord and is in conflict with a parent who’s not a believer?
KS: Sure. Well, first of all, he or she needs this book more than the kid who’s in a Christian home because there’s going to be more occasion for conflict because there’s 2 cultures at war: God’s kingdom culture and the worldly culture. And so the kids in a non-Christian environment, and even it’s not just at home, they’ll go into the workplace, they’ll go into the public school, so most of their life they’re going to live next to people who do not know Christ. And the great thing is, the promises and principles of God’s Word apply just as well, many of the best illustrations of peacemaking in scripture are of believers in non-believing environments living out these things. Daniel in 1st Daniel would be a great example of that. And how do we live these things out in those environments? What it means is you may not be as overt about it. You’re not going to quote chapter and verse to people, I don’t even do that with Christians. It doesn’t come across very well even in that setting, but you can talk in general concepts, you can paraphrase things. Confessing to a non-Christian can still be as impressive as confessing to a Christian.
CM: Yes, and convicting too.
KS: and convicting. To forgive a non-Christian in a general, biblical way can blow them away and just think, “Wow, how’d you do that?” And, you know, a kid in a non-Christian home who lives these things out eventually the Lord may really touch their father’s heart and say, “Man, my son is better at this than I am! I get defensive and excuse and here’s my son humbling himself. He’s better at this than I am. How can I learn from him?” So for a kid to say, “Dad, you know, I read this book a while ago and it’s really helping me. I’d like to go through it with you. There’s just some things on conflict resolution maybe you can even teach me some things, give me the benefit of your experience.” And to draw a father or mother into that kind of a dialogue would be terrific.
CM: Wow, what a Christ-likeness
KS: Can I just say one more, quick thing about the resource? Because as you’re saying the whole family needs to learn this but actually the whole church does. And again that’s the main emphasis of our ministry. We’ve got resources, something called “The Peacemaker Church’s Resource Set” that’s everything the thing a church needs to change an entire congregation, mom and dad, kids, teenager. And also, I want to invite people to go to our website to look for information on our national conference the end of September, a place to come and you can learn so much in just 2 or 3 days there, so just some resources.
CM: Well, go ahead and give us the website.
KS: Great, it’s www.peacemaker.net,
KS: peacemaker.net and resources there, especially for pastors, families and now teenagers as well.
CM: Great. Ken Sande, would you mind leading us in prayer and maybe you can particularly pray for homes in which there is great conflict right now that Jesus could reign in those homes too with peace and understanding?
KS: Father we thank you that you are God who is with us in the worst of situations. There’s example after example of people, even teenagers in tremendously dangerous conflict situations where they look to you, they trusted you. I think of Esther in the Old Testament and Daniel in the Old Testament, both of them teenagers Lord where people’s lives were hanging in the balance and yet you worked through them and gave them the wisdom and the grace to be peacemakers. And through them Lord you saved lives, you changed the course of history and you exalted your name. Lord, there are teens listening to this broadcast today who can be Esthers and Daniels in their homes, in their schools, in their workplace, on their sport teams. Lord, give them grace, give them vision. Father give them a hunger and a thirst and excitement to know that they can be channels of your grace and your peace and touch many lives, change the course of lives literally. Father I pray you would lead them to find the people who will teach them to take hold of the resources that you’ve made available to them Lord and help them to grow in this area, to learn skills that will benefit them all their lives and show the reality of Christ in their lives. We pray this in his precious name, amen.
CM: Ken Sande here with us on a Haven Today that we’re calling “Peacemaking Made Simple” I want to thank Ken for taking time from his busy schedule to join us and I want you to have a copy of “The Peacemaker”. The brand new Student Edition is just out, “Handling conflict without fighting back or running away.” It’s written by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson. Sooner or later conflict will come but how you handle it makes all the difference and that’s what we’ve been hearing the last few minutes. I would like to suggest, for peace in your life and peace in your home that you get a copy of this book from us today. We’ll also send you a bonus CD of the two days of interviews with Ken Sande with more helpful material that I think can make a big difference in your life and the lives of those around you. SO give us a call, would you, at 1-800-654-2836. That’s not just for a copy of the brand new book “The Peacemaker” but it’s also for the bonus CD with the 2 interviews with Ken Sande, 1-800-654-2836. We ask for your gift to help this listener supported ministry and we’ll get the book as well as the CD out to you right away. You can also go online and read more about the book if you like. Our web address is haventoday.org, that’s h.a.v.e.n, haventoday.org. When you get in touch with us, let us know the station you’re listening to as well. And if this is a program that someone you know needs to hear, maybe somebody in your church, maybe someone else in your family, maybe someone who’s going through a terrible conflict right now. You can easily past this program on to a friend. When you go to haventoday.org there near our “Listen” button you’ll see an easy way for you to send this program on to a friend or a group of friends that need to hear it.
I’m Charles Morris. Thank you for being with me. Come back again next time when again we’ll be sharing the great story. It’s all about Jesus and we’ll do it together here on Haven Today.
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