Many of you know how much I enjoy hiking with my family in the Montana high country. There are few things better than spending an afternoon in the midst of God’s splendor. The physical effort may be arduous, but it’s a small price to pay for experiencing the surpassing beauty of God’s glorious creation.
Our journey through the mountains and valleys of conflict is similar. The path may be steep and rocky at times, but when we stay on the path God has laid out for us, we will inevitably come to those marvelous vistas where he displays the glory of the gospel in reconciliations that take our breath away.
This new blog is designed to help Christians learn how to walk the path of conflict faithfully and safely. “My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped” (Ps. 17:5). As we share our experiences and the insights God gives us into his Word, we can learn together how to live out the gospel of peace more fully and experience reconciliation and renewal in our daily lives.
Although I’ll provide reflections from time to time, the primary voices representing Peacemaker Ministries on this blog will be Fred Barthel, Jerry Wall, Molly Routson and Jeromy Emerling. I commend to you these four godly and insightful people, who will bring daily observations from the world of reconciliation. I am confident that you’ll gain as much from their wisdom as I will.
The journey of peacemaking leads ultimately to reconciliation with God and with others. Our prayer for you, and for this new endeavor, is that God will be glorified in all our lives as we pursue a passionate call for biblical reconciliation in the lives of God’s people.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17: 20-23)
A great post by C.J. Mahaney on confession of sin by Christians. He starts off by discussing the case of professional athlete Andy Petitte (a professing Christian caught up in the current baseball performance-enhancing drugs scandal). But read to the bottom where C.J. discusses the need for confessions to be short (I hadn’t thought about that) and for the role of pride in our reluctance to confess. Good stuff.
Tim Pollard recently preached a peacemaking sermon at St. Peter’s Episcopal in Florida, and they sent a link to his sermon around to our staff. I particularly loved a quote from Martin Luther that Tim used at the conclusion:
“We will not be excused when we say, ‘I will not suffer man to do me wrong,’ because God requires that we renounce our rights and forgive our neighbor.”
If you have 20 minutes, I’d encourage you to listen to the whole thing – it’s a robust description of how the gospel is our foundation in peacemaking.
Yesterday at devotions, Sean led us to some reflections from C.S. Lewis on pride (based on his chapter in Mere Christianity called “The Great Sin”). There are so many insightful and thought-provoking points that Lewis makes in this chapter – if you have a chance, I’d encourage you to read the whole thing and to potentially discuss it with a friend.
Here’s the part that really grabbed my attention – it’s Lewis talking about the essentially competitive nature of pride.
“If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?’ The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with everyone else’s pride. It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive – is competitive by its very nature – while the other vises are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”