Healing Relationships (01): The Discipline of Pursuing Peace
Romans 12:18 - If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Healing Relationships - A Spiritual Discipline - During this Lenten Season, we will consider the theme of Healing Relationships. It is a central Lenten theme because alienation, brokenness, and schisms cause almost every sin. Therefore, repentance (as a Lenten theme) requires relational healing with God and people. This series will address the processes of healing relationships with the goal that every person in All Saints will be faithful in these processes and even a resource to others. We are called into a very serious spiritual discipline. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16, NIV). In this season, let us strive to keep our consciences clear before God and man in order to facilitate healing relationships.
Healing Relationships - Spiritual Prerequisites - The magnificent argument of the book of Romans leads from alienation (ch. 1) to peace (ch. 5, 8, 12, 14-15). The prerequisites of this peace are: Romans 5:1–2 - “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. . . . Romans 12:1-2 - “Therefore I exhort you, brethren, by the great mercy of God, to present yourselves as a living sacrifice [sing. offering], set apart and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And do not be conformed (syschematizo) to this present age (aion), but be transformed (metamorphoo) by renewing your mind, so that you discern what is the will of God—that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Healing Relationships - Sacrificial Living - In chapter 12, we are living sacrifices/offerings “morphing” by mind-renewal. This is our liturgy or “the temple worship” (latreia, 9:4, NIV). Paul, after showing in detail how Jesus fulfills Torah as the only final propitiatory sacrifice (Rom. 3:25ff), now explains how we live sacrificially. We become conformed to Him (Rom. 8:29) and offer ourselves through worship and service in the new humanity reflecting God’s image in beauty. The rest of ch. 12 shows us this self-sacrificial way of life. First, none of us should think we’re a superior hunk of sacrificial meat (Rom. 12:3). Secondly, we are members of a “body ”(Rom. 12:4; 2Cor. 3:18). Thirdly, we know that we live as reflectors of God’s image, as the Triune God lives eternally, in love (Rom. 12:9). Love requires a self-sacrificial response to wrongdoing (Rom. 12:17). It takes the wrong and gives back good. Let God be God: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Rom. 12:19). In the mean time, we can use the simple Pauline proverb, “overcome evil with good.” This is how we pursue peace with others.
Know the Six Principles of Reconciliation that Heal Relationships: PEOPLE
1) Pursue Peace
2) Examine Yourself
3) Offenses Defined
4) Process Offenses (1 or 2)
5) Listen in Confrontation
6) Exercise a Renewed Mind to Restore Trust
STEP ONE: Resolve to Pursue Peace Eagerly with Conviction. Be obedient to God’s will in pursuing peace through forgiving others since Christ has forgiven you (Eph. 4:32). Be resolved that practicing biblical reconciliation with others has eternal consequences. Jesus taught that there is no more foundational pursuit than peace through personal reconciliation (Mt. 5:23ff,6:14, 18:1ff).