Peacemakers in a Violent World: The Evangelical Church and Conflict Resolution

Investigates the call for evangelicals to be peacemakers, looking at both scriptural foundations and practical implications in a world marked by conflict.

Peacemakers in a Violent World: The Evangelical Church and Conflict Resolution In a world where violence headlines daily news, the evangelical church is called to be a community of peacemakers, reflecting the teachings of Jesus…

Peacemakers in a Violent World: The Evangelical Church and Conflict Resolution

In a world where violence headlines daily news, the evangelical church is called to be a community of peacemakers, reflecting the teachings of Jesus Christ. As we read in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,” there is a clear blessing associated with the pursuit of peace, both within and beyond church walls. This vocation is not merely a passive avoidance of conflict, but an active dedication to resolving strife and bringing reconciliation, following the Prince of Peace Himself.


Scriptural Imperatives for Peace and Reconciliation

The call to peace is woven throughout the tapestry of Scripture. Romans 12:18 exhorts believers: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This instruction recognizes the complexities of human conflict but encourages individual responsibility in fostering peace.

In Ephesians 2:14, Paul describes Jesus’ reconciling work, stating, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Christ’s example is the ultimate model for addressing division and enmity.

The Psalms, too, echo the longing for peace and the role of the faithful in seeking it, as in Psalm 34:14: “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” This pursuit is an active and intentional effort that goes beyond mere wishful thinking.

Actionable Steps for Cultivating Peace and Pursuing Reconciliation

1. Preach and Teach on Biblical Peace: Regularly include messages on peace and reconciliation in sermons and educational programs. Delving into the biblical foundations for peace will help congregants understand their role as peacemakers.

2. Conflict Resolution Training: Offer workshops on biblical conflict resolution, providing practical tools for members to address and resolve disputes constructively. Applying these principles in personal relationships can extend the church’s peace-making influence into the community.

3. Peace-focused Small Groups: Establish small groups dedicated to studying and practicing peace-making, where members can support one another in being agents of peace. Within these groups, stories of reconciliation and forgiveness can be shared, inspiring others to pursue peace in their situations.

4. Partner with Peacemaking Organizations: Collaborate with local and international organizations that specialize in peace and conflict resolution. By pooling resources and knowledge with these groups, the church can make a broader impact in peace initiatives.

5. Mediation Ministries: Develop a ministry that offers mediation services to those within and outside the church, addressing conflicts with impartiality and grace. These services demonstrate the church’s commitment to healing wounds rather than letting them fester.

6. Interfaith Dialogues: Engage in dialogues with different faith communities, promoting mutual understanding and respect. Through these dialogues, stereotypes can be dismantled, and common ground for peace can be found.

7. Public Statements on Violence: Draft public statements condemning violence and advocating for peace in response to local or global events. While upholding truth and justice, these statements can guide public perception and encourage peaceful responses.

8. Support for those Afflicted by Violence: Provide practical assistance and counseling for individuals affected by violence, whether from domestic, community, or war-related origins. These acts of compassion are fundamental to restoring peace and wholeness in broken lives.

9. Youth Engagement in Peacebuilding: Involve the church’s youth in peace initiatives, helping them understand the Gospel’s call to peace from an early age. By encouraging active participation, the younger generation can become lifelong ambassadors for peace.

10. Peacemaking through the Arts: Utilize creative arts, such as drama, music, and visual art, to communicate messages of peace and reconciliation. These artistic expressions can resonate deeply with people and break down barriers in ways that words alone cannot.

11. Communal Prayers for Peace: Incorporate focused times of prayer for peace within services, allowing the church to collectively lift up areas of conflict. These prayers not only turn our eyes to God’s power to bring peace but also align the hearts of the congregation with His desires for reconciliation.

12. Practical De-escalation Techniques: Train ushers, ministry leaders, and members in de-escalation techniques for use within the church or day-to-day life. Such preparedness can prevent conflicts from escalating and create environments where peace can flourish.


Manifesting God’s Kingdom Through Peace

The church’s call to peacemaking is integral to its witness. Pursuing peace requires courage, humility, and selflessness – traits exemplified in Christ’s life and ministry. By committing to these actionable steps, the church becomes a living testament to Jesus’s declaration in the Beatitudes.

Each action the church takes in resolving disputes and fostering understanding forms part of a larger, divine mosaic of restored relationships. By following through with these steps, the church not only mitigates the repercussions of conflict but also positively influences people to seek God’s peace in their lives.

As the church embraces its identity as a peacemaking body, it is vital to remember the words of 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, which remind believers that God “reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Through the church’s humble efforts in peacemaking, glimpses of God’s ultimate reconciling work are reflected in a world torn by strife.

In coming together as a community committed to peacemaking, the church exemplifies the scriptural vision for a reconciled and peaceful society. In a world rife with violence and discord, this commitment to peace is as crucial as ever, bearing witness to the hope and restoration found in Christ.

As we conclude this blog series, let us carry forward the call to stand as peacemakers in this turbulent world, ever mindful that such peacemaking echoes the harmonious heart of the Gospel. With every step towards reconciliation, we draw nearer to the peaceable Kingdom God has promised, where conflict is subdued, and the lion lies down with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6).