Matthew 5:1-11 ESV Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The Peace Maker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict – Third Edition (Revised and Updated) by Ken Sande. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, 2004. 320 pp.
Today I will attempt my third BOOK REVIEW on a book that has become dear to me. The Peace Maker by Ken Sande opened the door to a new world of grace-filled strategic conflict resolution. I must admit I wish I had found this book years ago. I can only look back with much personal regret at the many relationships which would have benefited from these practical and Biblical insights. Yet, I am thankful that I did discover it through my sweet bride, Tonia. Her knack for research on any and all topics and her hunger for healthy relationships constantly prove she is more than a help-mate she is…
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.12 She does him good, and not harm,all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12 ESV
I have a unique direction I wish to go with this book review. Rather than telling you about the structure or overall themes, I believe it might be more helpful to explain the pastoral benefits I gained. So, I’ll throw out a few of the major thoughts I had while reading…
- “Why have I never heard such detailed and concentrated teaching like this before?” First and foremost, I arrived at this text with years of experience in relationships. You don’t make it to your 40’s without experiencing relationship highs, lows, and the depths of despair. I suspect you will arrive at this text the same way. So, for me, reading The Peace Maker was an instant lens for the past and present. And that is a good thing. As you consider the parts of the book covering how “The Glory of God” should be the primary driving/motivating/animating force behind your thoughts and actions or parts designed to help you “Get the Log out of Your Eye” you may arrive at the same thought I had “Why have I never heard such detailed and concentrated teaching like this before?” I want to be quick to make sure this does not come across as placing the blame on former/current pastors, seminary teachers, or friends. I am just wanting to say “WOW! Where has this been all my life?!“
- “This teaching must be integrated into my family, ministries, and friendships.” Most believers who have been around the church for any amount of time have experienced a moment of confrontation where another brother or sister brings an action or attitude you displayed into question. Although believers want to be counted among those who both give and receive truth well, the fact is most of us have real scars from attempts that blew up in our faces. Ken Sande provides a multitude of real-life scenarios from family disputes, friendship breaks, church disputes, and broken business relationships. At no point did I find that I could not relate in some way with these experiences. Rather, I found myself reliving similar moments and wishing I had learned some of these lessons years ago so that perhaps some things may have turned out differently. At this point, I thought “This teaching must be integrated into my family, ministries, and friendships.” I must move forward with this practically applied theology of reconciliation for the sake of the name of Jesus and for the sake of the precious souls whom God has placed in my path. It is just too important to not get this right.
- “This book is the Matthew 18:15-17 process on STEROIDS!” OK, I know I could have probably found a better positive analogy than steroids, so my apologies in advance to Ken Sande if you read this! Many pastors and Christian leaders already value Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18. I am pleased to hear about the many pastors, professors, and Christian leaders seeking to live out Biblical restoration and church discipline. However, the magnitude of these moments and the potential damage that can be done when these verses are misinterpreted and misapplied calls for the church to seriously study and exhaust the resources available through books like The Peace Maker. My primary reaction was that I wished I had taken three or four classes at seminary on this subject.
In conclusion, I hope you will receive this book review as a humble plea to pick up this wonderful resource for the sake of God’s glory and your relationships.