Reflecting this Week
‘A Culture of Peace’
Whenever human beings band together we create cultures. A culture is simply ‘how we do things’. Banks have them, bank-robbers have them, gamers have them, bowls clubs have them, even churches have them. What should a church culture look like?
Before launching into everything Christians should be, let’s go to the core idea. A church should be about peace—“Since we are justified by faith we have peace with God” (Rom 5:1) and “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Col 3:15).
We’ve been talking a lot about encouragement lately, so peace is the natural direction for our conversation. So far so good—we’d all sign off on people of peace as a mission statement for church. However, culture is often what happens while organisations are busy making ‘mission statements’. In other words, although they might have the mission statement right, how they actually do things, their culture might be different! So how does a church cultivate a culture of peace? The blueprint is there in Scripture, but how do we move from ‘page to practise’?
PeaceWise talk about “becoming a culture of peace”. PeaceWise? Some of you are thinking, “Oh that course. Done that!” Others will be asking, “Isn’t that the conflict resolution course?”
PeaceWise is more than conflict resolution and it is more than a course. PeaceWise is about Biblical tools to not only resolve conflict but to help God’s people navigate relationships. (And let’s face it, as people coming from all kinds of experiences and with all kinds of baggage, we are a very interesting bunch that Jesus has put together). Some of us are ‘peace-fakers’ (we pretend everything is fine even if we’re hurting) some of us are ‘peace-breakers’ (we lash out in anger).
What we must become, is a people who deal in godly ways with the little prickles and the deep wounds in the household of peace we call ‘church’. A culture of peace isn’t just about resolving conflict when it flares up, but about preventing it. A culture of peace is about gracious speech, a willingness to overlook the small things and courage to face the big things with truth and love. A culture of peace is where Christians confront gently, apologise humbly and repent genuinely. A culture of peace always looks for the opportunity to restore.
The starting place of PeaceWise is ‘Glorify God’. Every conflict is an opportunity to glorify God. Think about it. Everyone in the world has conflict, but when God’s people have conflict and see it as an opportunity to practise peace-making, we are living out our God-given identity, and all heaven cheers. When we live with unresolved conflict we are just living like the world. Sure, resolving conflict can be challenging, but the freedom is worth it! Is there a conflict you need with help with?
Let’s work at becoming a culture of peace.
More to say next week…
Faith | Hope | Love