This series addresses relational breaks with the thematic passage (Heb. 12:14ff): “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Other parts of Scripture provide the defining categories and processes of reconciliation (e.g., Mt. 18). Jesus taught that there is no more foundational pursuit than peace through personal reconciliation (Mt. 5:23ff,6:14, 18:1ff). “If you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Mt. 6:15).
Spiritual stability (Phil. 4:1, 1 Cor. 15:58) in dealing with relational peace requires growth in two directions: a) For people who are overly sensitive and easily offended, such Soft Boiled people must learn to distinguish between true offenses and imagined offenses; not seeking approval from men but from God alone. Practice letting go and raising your threshold for offense. b) For people are callous, hard and insensitive who easily wound and offend others, such Hard Boiled people must become more tender hearted and aware of their need of giving mercy, kindness and grace. Practice circumspect action, double-checking with others if wounds or offenses happened (without your intention).
This series explains these Five Principle Actions:
I. Principle One: Conviction - Resolve to Pursue Peace Eagerly with Conviction (Mt. 5:23ff,6:14, 18:1ff).
II. Principle Two: Self-Examination - Identify Causes of Bitterness Conscientiously in Self-Examination. Keep a blameless conscience. Causes of alienation can be our own pride (Mt. 18) or greed, like Esau (Heb. 12:15ff).
III. Principle Three: Clarity - Define Offenses Clearly. Before accusing or judging others, define their offense(s) biblically. An offense is a cause or occasion of sin, a “stumbling block” (scandalon, Mt. 5:29ff, 16:23, 18:6). A true offense requires a) that another person violate the Law making you the victim of such sin and b) this alleged sin is confirmed with proper evidence.
IV. Principle Four: Action - Respond to Offenses with (only 2) Biblical Actions. There are only two categories of resolution: a) those offenses we forgive without requiring further action. This is being "tender-hearted" and letting "love cover a multitude of sins" (Eph. 4:32, 1 Pt. 4:8). b) those offenses we pursue reconciliation by “process” with the means of sequential, humble confrontation (Mt. 18:15ff) to give opportunity for the clarification, repentance, and peaceful resolution.
V. Principle Five: Renewal - Practice Dealing with Relational Strains by Renewing Your Mind - After responding to true offenses biblically, Phil. 4 gives practical guidance in dealing with ongoing strained relationships. Seven actions emerge for prayerful action.