Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

Being Peacemakers in Church, Part 2

If you are going to make peace within your church, you must “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4:3). Church unity is not something you can take for granted, but it is something to be sought with vigorous effort. Where you see the beginning of division, snuff it out. If two church members are stuck in disagreement, help them to understand each other. If something about the church begins to get on your nerves – and, believe me, something will! – don’t complain behind the leaders’ backs or threaten to leave the church. Rather, talk directly and humbly with those who are responsible. Don’t ever brandish the “I might leave” threat unless you’re facing a major issue of intractable heresy or unrepentance. (I once heard a faithful church member threaten to leave if the high school minister didn’t start sending out flyers on time. No kidding!)


In his letter to the Colossians Paul mentions one other activity that is essential to peacemaking within the church:

You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. (Col 3:13-15)

Peacemaking requires forgiveness. Over and over again, our Christian siblings will hurt us. That’s too bad, but that’s the way it is. If we hold onto the offense and the pain, if we formulate plans to get even, if we fail to forgive or pretend to forgive without actually doing so, then we will contribute to the demise of our Christian community just as much or more than the one who wronged us. When we do forgive, however, our relationships with be renewed and the body of Christ will strengthened.


Tim-HH-MDR-4.jpgI remember a time when an elder named Tim helped the leaders of Irvine Presbyterian Church resolve a contentious discussion about worship. While he served on our elder board, Tim was an exemplary leader. He also drove me crazy at times, and I generously returned the favor. Both Tim and I are fairly active thinkers and robust communicators. We tend to like our own opinions a lot and to defend them vigorously. (Tim, in fact, is an attorney who once argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.) When Tim and I disagreed about something, the conversation could get hot. Both of us would sometimes end up saying things to each other that were more than a little inappropriate. No cussing or fist fights, just barbs that poked too hard or insinuations that punched below the emotional belt. (Photo: In this picture, I’m on the left, Tim is on the right. Our mutual friend Hugh is in the middle. Tim and I had the opportunity to travel together. Here, we’re in Florence, Italy.)


But Tim and I never let those offenses lie. On any number of occasions we’d be on the phone the next day, asking for and granting forgiveness. As a result, the leadership of our church was stronger. Our relationship, far from being injured, grew into deeper fellowship. Today, Tim is one of my dearest friends, even though we live half a country apart. My experience with Tim illustrates that genuine forgiveness not only preserves peace, but also makes it better.

In my next post I want to discuss one of the most important contexts for peacemaking: the family.

This post is part of a series: Seeking the Peace of Christ: Peacemaking and Christianity. You can read or link to the series by clicking on the series title.

  • Pat

    Excellent article.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Mark D. Roberts. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration ...

posted 2:09:11pm Aug. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? Conclusions
In this series on the death of Jesus, I have presented four different perspectives on why Jesus had to die: Roman, Jewish, Jesus’, and Early Christian. I believe that each of these points of view has merit, and that we cannot fully understand ...

posted 2:47:39am Apr. 11, 2011 | read full post »

Sunday Inspiration from the High Calling
Can We Find God in the City? Psalm 48:1-14 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that ...

posted 2:05:51am Apr. 10, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 3
An Act and Symbol of Love Perhaps one of the most startling of the early Christian interpretations of the cross was that it was all about love. It’s easy in our day, when crosses are religious symbols, attractive ornaments, and trendy ...

posted 2:41:47am Apr. 08, 2011 | read full post »

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? The Perspective of the First Christians, Part 2
The Means of Reconciliation In my last post, I examined one of the very earliest Christian statements of the purpose of Jesus’ death. According to the tradition encapsulated in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus died “for our sins in accordance with ...

posted 2:30:03am Apr. 07, 2011 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.