The Peacemaker Class
Written by Kim LaCoste   
     Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. (Proverbs 4:13)

For the past few weeks, our Sabbath School class has been studying the peacemaking process.  I asked one of the church members who's in the class (Sharon) what she thought of it, and she had the following to say:

     "I have found the class to be very helpful. It has made me think about situations in a new way.

I now see my part in them better. I am learning how God wants to resolve our problems. I had not considered how God thought about our problems. Now I know that He cares. I am looking at things in my past differently."

I agree with Sharon. It's astounding how you can read the Bible and miss information, such as Jesus' counseling for making peace with another, found in the Book of Matthew, Chapter 18. I didn't realize - that is, I didn't "see" there was a spiritual process for dealing with conflict and reconciliation. Like so many others, I grew up in a society where the motto has been "to sue or not to sue". The peacemaker class has taught me to look deeper - to see from within myself first, take the mote out of my eye and then seek to reconcile with others through love, kindness and God's help.

In some ways, I've already been on track, thanks to the seminars I've attended (e.g., dealing with difficult people, using one's emotional intelligence and developing my interpersonal skills). The difference, however, was that the Lord wasn't a part of the learning process. While I did gain a lot from those seminars, I have learned much more in my Sabbath class because it's God-centered. The author provides good ideas and advice, but he still points you to the Word. There are biblical references throughout each chapter in his book. The Lord didn't want us to live in a society where Scripture [and/or the church] had no part in helping us handle conflicts with others. I didn't realize how important it was to help our friends or family members when they're trapped in sinful behavior. Years ago, I would have been too afraid to do or say anything. I'm not anymore. The goal is to share how much God wants to be a part of your life. Only He can change a person's heart. Our job is to build a person up, talk about God's forgiveness and pray for friends and family in the hope that they will seek repentance. 

Taking the class has made me reexamine myself. I know there's no such thing as reading the entire Bible once, and "you're all set!" It's a lifetime process because there's always something new to learn. Living and learning through the Scriptures are crucial to my life. There are believers who don't refer to the Bible as much as they should for guidance and non-believers who have reduced everything in the Bible to being a myth. There are churches that have "put their heads in the sand" regarding the peacemaking process. They hide behind the mindset that someone's conflict is none of their business. When I think about accountability, what will those church members say when Jesus asks him/her about that? I may not always be successful with reconciliation, but it's better than doing nothing. The Peacemaker studies have really broadened my understanding of the Lord and I'm forever grateful.