God loves for his children to be at peace with one another. Jesus told his disciples, “don’t let your hearts be troubled.” In the same breath he said, “My peace I give to you.” (John 14:27)
Yet unless you’re a hermit, the reality you probably deal with every day is that your life is filled with conflict. Modern life is suffused with relational friction. Just look at the number of law suits that fill our lives. Look at the number of broken relationships – where is this peace that Jesus promised?
If we want the peace Jesus gives, we need to put his words into practice. Christians often cite Matthew 18 as the primary process for resolving conflict, but Jesus gives us a couple of steps in the peace making process that precede it.
Here’s what he says:
1. Your heart: Examine your heart and forgive (Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25)
2. Someone else’s heart: If someone has something against you, go to them and be reconciled. (Matthew 5:23-24)
3. Someone else’s actions: If someone sins against you, go to him and talk. (Matthew 18:15)
4. When they don’t listen: Take a couple of friends along to talk some more. (Matthew 18:16)
5. When they still don’t listen: Take it to a bigger group of fellow believers. (Matthew 18:17)
And what do you do when, after these five steps, they still don’t listen? Jesus is so interested in your resolving conflict that he gives you yet another step – he asks you to recognize that their hard heart requires a different approach, one that includes spiritual warfare. (Matthew 18:17-19)
There’s a reason Jesus began his ministry by calling those who try to resolve conflict between people “blessed.” (Matthew 5:9) And there’s a reason he ended his time on earth by praying for unity (John 17:23). There’s a reason most of the ten commandments are about respect in relationships. God wants his kids to play nice and stop fighting. That’s when his kingdom comes. Jesus knows that conflict fills our lives with stress. He wants to give us peace instead. I suggest looking at the conflicts in your life and applying Jesus’ process. If it works, then maybe you can encourage us with a testimony.
If you’re interested in learning more about peace-making principles, I recommend going to this site