Detours


Not a fan of unplanned detours? Neither am I. They create aggravation, force delays, and interfere with my plans. All it takes is one wrong turn, a missed road sign, or inadequate directions and we find ourselves in a place we never intended to be.

The same is true for those who walk The Path of a Peacemaker. While the peacemaker’s path is clearly marked by genuine grace, authentic justice, and a response that reflects a commitment to the Gospel of Christ, other routes take us far away from the reconciliation and peace we so earnestly desire.

One such detour from “The Path” is a defensive response to conflict. Whenever the focus shifts from an amicable resolution to the offense itself, peace is no longer the intended destination. Instead, it’s about coming out ahead in the argument. With harsh words and actions no longer off limits, those in attack mode may find that peace is elusive and the road back to a restored relationship is considerably more difficult.

While some may choose the war path, others are eager to discover an escape route. On the surface, retreat may appear to be a quieter, more civil way to address conflict. However, this detour is not without its own pain and heartache. As issues go unaddressed and relationships remain unrestored, those who walk this road will find themselves miles away from the path of peace.

Time to Reflect

When confronted with conflict, it doesn’t matter whether our natural response is to attack or escape. Either is a detour from God’s desire for us, and always leads us down a dead end road. My prayer is that we will quickly recognize the “Dead End” signs associated with attacking and escaping so that we can make a U-Turn back onto The Path of a Peacemaker.

In our efforts to stay on “The Path”, reflection is an important part of the journey. If we are willing to ask ourselves deep, probing questions – and then answer them honestly – our Father can open our eyes to the good steps, the missteps, and the detours we have taken along the way.

This week, I leave you with these reflection questions: What is my natural response to conflict? When I find myself at odds with a brother or sister, do I take aim and fire, or look for the quickest escape route? If I’ve taken a detour, what steps lead me back to The Path of a Peacemaker?

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Check out next week’s blog post for more reflection questions as we journey The Path of a Peacemaker. On a related note, if you enjoy the blog, I hope you’ll consider attending The Path of a Peacemaker Seminar on Saturday, September 26th. Admission is free, but advance registration is required. Click here to get all the details and sign up today!

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Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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Idols in Disguise


When I read the Biblical account of the Israelites’ obsession with foreign gods and their repeated rejection of the one true God, it’s hard for me to imagine that they could be so foolish as to worship inferior gods of their own making. What is even harder to comprehend is how, despite their painful cycle of rebellion, their loving Father never stopped His pursuit to recapture their hearts:

When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the Lord will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry.  I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols. Ezekiel 14:4b-5

Instead of being tempted to follow idols constructed of wood, stone, or precious metals, our hearts are enticed by the things that capture our affection and vie for residence in our hearts. While these idols can be obvious vices like greed, addiction, or unhealthy obsessions, many times they are disguised as some of the good things that have been given to us by God Himself – our possessions, our careers, our ambition, our dreams.

Does it consume our affections? Drive our priorities? Compromise our commitment to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, we are dealing with idolatry and are no different than the Israelites. And, if the Israelites could see our false gods in the same way we have seen theirs, their response might well be: “It’s hard to imagine that they could be so foolish as to worship inferior gods of their own making.” Sound familiar?

Whether constructed by hands, or created in the heart, the foolishness of idolatry is more easily observed in others than in ourselves. However, through the process of reflection, God can open our eyes to the idols that have taken up residence on the throne of our hearts. If we’ll choose contrition and repentance, these enormous barriers to peace with God and our fellow man will be removed as we continue along The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Check out next week’s blog post to learn more about the importance of reflection in the peacemaking process. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Deflect or Reflect


When conflict enters my space, too often I look outside myself to identify the reason for the conflict. At times, I am quick to point out the mistakes of others, but slow to consider the possibility of my own wrongdoing in the situation.

In the midst of such dissension and distrust, it is unfair, but not uncommon for us to judge others by their actions while judging ourselves by our intentions. In so doing, we extend grace to ourselves while continuing to judge the hearts and choices of others. This is complicated further by the very real possibility that those with whom we disagree may be processing their own frustrations in a similar way.

While both sides of a conflict need to be addressed before a broken relationship can be restored, too often we focus our attention on what our brother or sister has done wrong before we have taken the time to examine our own heart and actions:

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:4-5

Anytime we are confronted with a contentious situation, we have an important choice to make: will we automatically deflect and blame someone else for the issue, or will we first reflect on our role in the situation and take responsibility for our own actions?

When we deflect, it is not only harmful to the pursuit of peace; it is harmful to our growth and maturity as believers. When we reflect, the Spirit of God can change our hearts and mold us into His image. This process can be humbling, but brings us another step closer to God and our fellow man.

There’s no doubt that we find tremendous freedom when we surrender everything to the Father and move forward on The Path of a Peacemaker. My prayer is that we all will learn how to walk “The Path” sooner and more often, with transparency, humility and forgiveness, basking in the peace it brings us, just as He promises.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Check out next week’s blog post to learn more about the importance of reflection in the peacemaking process. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Looking Inside


There are so many things I have come to appreciate about Jesus’ interactions with His followers. His preaching was practical, His illustrations were powerful, and He didn’t hesitate to ask deep, probing questions that get right at the heart of the issue. As part of his teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, He offered one such question that still deserves consideration today:

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3

As I’ve pondered Jesus’ question, it’s hard to miss His point. It’s counterproductive to focus on another person’s problem when our vision is blocked by our own significant challenges. Yet, it seems we do this all the time – but why?

While the answer to this question is somewhat unique to each of us, I believe an underlying issue is our natural tendency to shift blame and avoid taking responsibility, especially when engaged in conflict. It’s difficult – sometimes even painful – to look deep inside ourselves and address the issues that tend to cause us and others harm.

This brings us to the next step on The Path of a Peacemaker – that of reflection. The process of examining our hearts and making adjustments may not be easy, but it is necessary. As we continue our journey as peacemakers, these questions will help guide us along the way: How do we respond to tension? What part of conflict are we handling right? What could we do better? Together, we’ll reflect on these things (and more) as we continue to pursue the path to peace.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

When it comes to conflict, do you deflect or reflect? Check out next week’s blog post for more on this topic. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Things Unseen


The sinking of the Titanic was an early 20th century tragedy of epic proportions. At the time, it seemed impossible that this “unsinkable” ship would experience anything but smooth sailing on its maiden voyage. Yet, after striking an iceberg that lay almost undetected under the surface of the cold Atlantic waters, the Titanic began its descent to the bottom of the ocean floor in just a few short hours after the fateful collision.

As with the Titanic, sometimes the greatest dangers in our relationships aren’t terribly obvious – instead, they lay just beneath the surface. While these proverbial “icebergs” have the capacity to do great harm, if we will take the opportunity to ascend to our Father, He can open our eyes to potential hazards – both seen and unseen.

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness, (Psalm 26.2-3).

There have been occasions when I have relied on my own instincts and inclinations when navigating troubled waters in relationships. Yet, over time I have found that great planning and good intentions are no substitute for God’s guiding hand in my life. When I rest in His unfailing love and faithfulness and choose to let Him examine my intentions and thoughts, I know He will lead me in the way that is best for me, reveal unknown dangers, and protect me from treacherous relational collisions.

Are you dealing with a difficult issue in a relationship and need insight? Let me encourage you to turn everything over to the One who cares for you and is faithful in guiding you through The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

In next week’s post, we’ll start the Reflect portion of our journey on The Path of a Peacemaker. Thank you, friends, for reading and sharing the blog!

Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Looking Out for Number One


I recently read this humorous, yet sobering, sign: “CORPORATE EXERCISE PROGRAM CANCELLED.” Below it read, “Scientific research has shown that humans get the required amount of exercise by jumping to conclusions, dodging their responsibilities, flying off the handle, running down their boss, and pushing their luck.”

If you can relate, you are not alone! While there’s a lot of buzz about a “team approach” in the work place, many of us can attest to the fact that there is plenty of room for improvement. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to fend off the conflict that enters our lives, but the Apostle Paul offers some counsel that will help if we’ll take it to heart:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,   (Philippians 2:3-4).

For some, this passage in Philippians raises a valid question: “If we aren’t looking out for our own interests, then aren’t we opening ourselves to being walked on like doormats?” Rather than negating the need for truth and accountability, it provides the appropriate framework for those situations when there is a need to address tension and conflict.

As believers who desire harmony and healing in our relationships, we have come to recognize that ambition and vain conceit are the enemies of peace. Yet, with God’s grace and the power of His Spirit, we are empowered to demonstrate the kind of humility and compassion that creates an environment in which relationships can flourish and grow.

As peacemakers, looking out for number one is not about satisfying our own desires. It’s about pleasing our Father – who truly is number one! When we are committed to honoring God and serving others, we can rest assured that the outcome belongs to Him, and that He is eager to “do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20).

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll continue to look at this in the coming weeks. Thank you, friends, for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Taking the First Step


As we journey The Path of a Peacemaker, there are many things that can trip us up along the way. Pride and stubbornness are among the more obvious obstacles, but there is another equally dangerous stumbling stone – passivity. While I’m waiting for you to take the first step, you are waiting for me, and so the cycle goes. We are waiting, waiting, and waiting some more…

When our hearts are injured, sometimes we feel justified in expecting the other person to offer an act of contrition before we are willing to make a move toward reconciling the relationship. Yet, Jesus offers a different approach:

So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Isn’t it amazing how God can use a sacred moment of worship, a time when our focus is solely on Him, to open our eyes to a problem between us and our fellow man? Yet, when we ascend into God’s presence and align our hearts with His own, He gently reveals to us the relational challenges in our lives and releases us to attend to them – even before we have concluded our time of worship.

When God prompts us to make amends in our relationships, are we willing to disrupt our activities and be obedient to His leading? As peacemakers, our calling is to be purposeful, not passive – to initiate, not hesitate. Whether the conflict is a new challenge or a struggle that has gone on for years, if we are willing, the path to peace can begin in this very moment. The journey may not always be easy, but God is faithful to take us from where we are to where He wants us to go. With His help and guidance, we can take the first step onto The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll continue to look at this in the coming weeks. Thank you, friends, for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Pursue Peace


If you’re a sports fan, you know the value of teamwork and the importance of every player leaving it all on the field. Many superior teams have suffered defeat when a group of lesser skilled but more highly committed athletes have succeeded at playing hard and working together.

When entangled in conflict, oddly enough, the team concept has some points of application. In order to resolve an issue, it takes those on both sides of the dispute to come together and be committed to the process of reaching a peaceful resolution. While there are steps we can take to restore peace in our own hearts and with God, living in harmony with our fellow man takes some cooperation from them, too.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone,” (Romans 12:8).

While we do all that we can to follow Christ’s example by extending to others the same humility, grace and kindness He has shown to us, ultimately, we can only control our own response to a situation. As for me, I can only determine whether I’ve made my best effort to live at peace with everyone, if possible and as far as it depends on me when I am willing to ask myself some hard questions:

Ascend: Have I surrendered this issue to the Lord and am I seeking His face?

Reflect: Have I thoroughly examined my heart, thoughts and actions?

Connect: Have I exhausted all reasonable methods to humbly connect with the other person and confess my role in the issue?

I admit, I don’t always get it right. Sometimes my best efforts to restore a relationship are unsuccessful. Maybe you can relate. Regardless of what has contributed to unresolved conflict in our lives, it can weigh us down and cause us to question our calling as peacemakers. Rather than giving up, can we be willing to accept new opportunities to resolve the issue? If we’ll ascend to our Father who knows and cares about our circumstances, He will give us all that we need to faithfully continue along The Path of a Peacemaker.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll continue to look at this in the coming weeks. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Ascend: Go to the Father Because… (Part II)

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We’ve all heard the expression about “sticks and stones” and are fully aware that, while sticks and stones may break our bones, the reality is that words really do hurt us. In fact, divisive words may injure something more fragile than our body – they can shatter our hearts. Gossip, lies, backstabbing, and betrayals of all kinds create wounds from which some of us have yet to heal.

Unaddressed injuries such as these can cause a once soft and pliable heart to become calloused and hard. Over time, if we allow the pain to continue to fester beneath the surface, there’s a good chance that our bitterness and unforgiveness may completely consume us.

If we want God to open the door of healing for both our hearts and relationships, our first step is to humbly go (ascend) to our Father because… He welcomes a contrite heart!

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise,” (Psalm 51:17).

No matter what relational difficulties we may be experiencing, when we ascend to our Heavenly Father and surrender our brokenness to Him, He is able to help us see what we cannot see and can strip away any pride or fear so that our hearts will look more like His heart. I confess that this isn’t always my initial reaction in times of conflict, but as I become more seasoned in my faith, I am learning to do this sooner and more often. What a privilege and blessing this has been in my life!

How about you? Do you struggle with going to God first in the midst of conflict? Let me encourage you that He brings hope in the midst of our trials, and His promises to us are sure. As we humble our hearts and receive His tender mercies, He will walk with us on the path of peace.

Up Ahead on “The Path”…

What is our responsibility and calling as peacemakers? We’ll take a look at this in the coming weeks. As always, thanks for reading and sharing The Path of a Peacemaker blog!  Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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Ascend: Go to the Father Because… Part I

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There was only one way out of the mess the prodigal son had made of his life – he had to return to his father. As I think of his situation, sometimes I wonder how long he agonized over this difficult decision. How could he have any assurance that his father would take him back? After all of his foolish and shameful actions, didn’t he risk the possibility of rejection? Was the trip back home really worth the risk?

While you and I have the benefit of knowing how this parable ends and what it means, could the prodigal have foreseen the outcome of his bold decision? Did he hearken back to the love and tenderness of his father? My guess is that he knew the same thing about his father that you and I know about our Heavenly Father, and like us, needed to be reminded of this truth:

“…The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…” Exodus 34:6-7a

The Heavenly Father’s capacity to love us goes beyond what our human minds can fully conceive. Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul prayed that the church would be able to comprehend “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Eph. 3:18) God’s love is so great that it not only knows no bounds, but there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from it! (Rom. 8:39)

As children of a gracious and merciful God, this should give us the confidence to go to our Father at any time with anything. We know that he can restore relationships, heal our brokenness, and redeem our sorrows. He loves the unlovable, forgives the unforgivable, and, though it’s not easy, He helps those who are peacemakers to do the same. Together, let us ascend to the Father because… He is compassionate!

 Up Ahead on “The Path”…

Why should we go to our Father in our times of conflict and trouble? We’ll take a look at yet another reason in next week’s post. Thanks again for reading The Path of a Peacemaker blog, and please keep sharing it with your friends and family! Click here to learn more about Peacemaker Ministries.

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