Book Review: The Peacemaker Student Edition

Today for “Natasha’s Study” I am reviewing the book, The Peacemaker Student Edition: Handling Conflict without Fighting Back or Running Away, by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson

Why I picked up this book:

The Peacemaker

I was first introduced to the book, The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande when I was attending seminary. I was going through a very difficult time in my marriage and the book was both convicting and healing at the same time.

When I started the mentoring and discipleship ministry at my church, the book was required reading for everyone on my leadership team. I thought the teaching and concepts were necessary for our growing healthy relationships. Peacemaking, is like love and forgiveness; it is not something we would naturally do on our own. We cannot naturally do it without God’s help and that includes putting away our old habits and learning new ways of being in the world.

“The Peacemaker” book is 300 pages, which is a massive amount of reading for the average American who only has patience to digest 140 characters at a time. Therefore, I originally bought “The Peacemaker Student Edition” as an alternate teaching tool. Depending on the learning audience, I thought I could cover a similar amount of teaching ground in a lot less time.

As it turned out, one of my mentees recently moved to another state. She was having communication challenges with some of her family members, and we were able to work through this resource together.

Who Should Read The Peacemaker Student Edition:

The Peacemaker Student Edition

This book is beneficial for anyone who has influence, ministry, parenting, or mentoring responsibilities for middle and high school students. The book is an easy read and a great resource for individual or small group processing.

This is also a great resource to go through with the millennials in your life. Millennials need mentoring and guidance, and they are looking to receive that from adults who are older and wiser than them.

When I see adults who have a habit of gossiping, lashing out, and holding grudges, I know that they have not learned to love, make peace, or forgive. Again, these are all intentional actions that the Holy Spirit helps us to cultivate. Yet we must be willing to unlearn or “put off” as the Bible states, our old habits and manner of being, and then learn or “put on” new habits that will glorify God.

When we teach, practice, and reinforce these skills early, we raise up adults who know how to cultivate healthy relationships to the glory of God.

What’s in Store for You:

Like the other “Peacemaker” material, this resource focuses on “The Four G’s of Peacemaking”:

G1: Glorify God. How can I honor God in this situation?

G2: Get the log out of your eye. How can I own my part in this conflict?

G3: Gently restore. How can I help others own their contribution to this clash?

G4: Go and be reconciled. How can I pass along God’s forgiveness and help reach a reasonable solution?

Glory is a word that is hard to wrap our minds around. It essentially means “weighty.” Some communicate it as “making big” or a “heaviness.” Glory is what God already is, and glory is also what we attribute or give to God. When we say, “Glorify God,” the authors share that we desire to “bring attention to, display, and reveal his perfection.”

Therefore, the big picture and desire for peacemaking is to display or reveal the perfection of God at work in our lives. Becoming a peacemaker who brings glory to God is an opportunity that is available to all believers. Before we knew or had a personal relationship with God, we all learned the alternatives of peacebreaking and peacefaking.

Peacebreaking includes “attack” responses like offering insults, gossiping, fighting, and in an extreme case, murder.

Peacefaking includes the “escape” responses of denial, blaming, flight (or running away), and in extreme cases, suicide.

However, God presents a better way. Through peacemaking, we have the options of overlooking an offense, talking it out, getting help, and seeking accountability. When we seek to work out our conflicts this way, we honor God and we strengthen our earthly relationships with the people in our lives.

Conflicts are often the result of our own unmet desires. Because we are all different people with different needs and wants, conflicts are inevitable. “Conflict is a difference in opinion or purpose that frustrates your goals or desires—or someone else’s…conflict happens when you are at odds with another person over what you think, want, or do.” However, if we pursue peace, we can all learn, grow, and come out of our conflicts as better people. The authors also remind the reader that, “Every conflict presents you with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to serve others.”

My personal take-aways?

It is always good to refresh ourselves and review biblical principles. These are God’s righteous standards for his holy people. This book has a lot of Scripture, which is my preference for any resources I use as a mentoring or discipleship teaching tool. It is not beneficial to aim at discipleship while reviewing material that is full of lofty ideas, and are not grounded in biblical truth. I agree with the authors that “some Christians have no idea what God expects because they don’t know the Bible. They are missing an amazing opportunity to figure out life.” The truth of Scripture is what grounds us and the Holy Spirit uses the grounding truth of God’s Word to put and keep us on the right path.

The book has several questions for reflection and consideration, and presents case study or stories so the reader can see how the proposed course of action can work itself out in real-life. The authors also present questions, steps, and guidelines to help the reader practice new courses of action for resolving conflict.

In addition to providing hope and guidance to my mentee, reading through this resource reminded me of the simple truth that God is worth trusting and when we make peace we take advantage of the opportunity to display God’s goodness to watching world.

Twitter-worthy:

“When your relationships with others display unity, people see God alive in you.” Ken Sande/Kevin Johnson #Peacemaker

“Peacemaking is a radical choice to pursue God’s way of dealing with every clash you face.” Ken Sande/Kevin Johnson #Peacemaker

“God’s deep love for us shows us a fresh way to approach others.” Ken Sande/Kevin Johnson #Peacemaker

“Real confession begins by owning your sin to everyone directly impacted by your sin.” Ken Sande/Kevin Johnson #Peacemaker

Quotable:

“Peacebreaking happens whenever people care less about a relationship than about winning an argument, asserting their rights, or getting what they want.” Ken Sande & Kevin Johnson

“Your ability to do right, love others, and follow God’s way of peace all come down to one thing: you have to know that God is worth trusting.” Ken Sande & Kevin Johnson

“We gossip whenever we discuss unflattering details about a person with someone else who isn’t part of the problem or its solution. Gossip is wrong even if the information is true.” Ken Sande & Kevin Johnson

“You don’t really mean that you are sorry if you are planning on sinning again. Sincere repentance includes explaining to the person you offended how you plan to change in the future—what you’ll say, how you’ll act, or the attitude you’ll display. Get specific. Find someone to hold you accountable. Explain that you are relying on God’s help.” Ken Sande & Kevin Johnson

“The fact that someone needs forgiveness means that what he or she did, big or small, was so wrong that Jesus had to die for it.” Ken Sande & Kevin Johnson

Next Up on this Topic:

“Safe People” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2017

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