Equipping Our Children To Be Biblical Peacemakers
My little boys had had a rough evening. When we prayed before bedtime one son prayed for the other one, “Dear Lord, please help (Brother #2) to become a Christian . . .” Insulted, Brother #2 protested, “I am already a Christian!” Brother #1 continued, “Then Lord, please help him to become a better one . . .”
This was obviously not the very best way to handle the conflict that had arisen that evening. (This evening prayer required discussion on peacemaking as well as getting the beam out of our own eye first! Ha! (Matthew 7:5))
“I hate conflict.” We have all heard this said and I’m sure most of us have said it ourselves.
Most of our children feel the same way. Rarely are they out looking for a fight. But conflict is a part of life after the Fall. We (and our children) sin against others – both intentionally and without realizing it. We (and our children) also respond sinfully to being sinned against.
We can help our children know how to respond to the day-to-day kinds of conflicts that present themselves. We can teach them to be true PEACEMAKERS. Because of our sinful nature, we tend to respond to conflict by Peace “Faking” (blame shifting, running away, avoiding) or by Peace “Breaking” (gossip, verbal or physical attacks). Conflict creates a “slippery slope;” God’s Word calls us to:
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”Romans 12:18
Rather than PeaceFaking, let’s teach our kids how to truly…
- Overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11)
- Cover an offense in love (Proverbs 17:9)
- Forgive without being asked (Ephesians 4:32)
Rather than PeaceBreaking, let’s teach our kids how to…
|Go to their brother or sister in love||“I want to be right with you. Can we work this out?”|
|Specifically articulate their feelings and concerns||“I feel frustrated when _____”; “It was hurtful/disappointing when ______”|
|Accept responsibility and seek forgiveness||“I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you forgive me? I don’t want to do that again.”|
|Talk it out/work it out, getting help from an adult when necessary||“Your friendship is important to me. What can we do to work this out and make it right? In the future, let’s _____.”|
|Be thankful for wise counsel offered by other peers or by those in authority over them||Ask a teacher or parent “What do you think I should do?”|
And let’s PRAY faithfully with our children for those they find themselves in conflict with. (Romans 12:14, Matthew 5:44) These prayers might begin with clenched teeth, but the Holy Spirit will be faithful to make us lovers of good and help us to strive for peace.
We are raising future husbands, wives, parents, church members, neighbors, employees, and employers. What an important thing to know how to engage in Biblical peacemaking, and to have the humility and love for others to do so! Each person we and our children meet and interact with has a soul that will last forever. How grateful we can be that the Lord is quick to forgive and that we can bring our frustrations, exhaustions, failures, and sin to Him. How we need His mercy, patience, compassion, and forgiveness.
If God can reconcile me to Himself, through His Son Jesus, He can reconcile us to one another as well. Let’s teach our children that our help comes from the Lord – He is our mediator, He is the Prince of Peace, and He has sent His Son to redeem and restore the brokenness of this fallen world.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.Prov 19:11
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.Prov 17:9
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.Eph 4:32
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,Matt 5:44
And lastly, here’s another great resource by author, Jon Bloom. He is a board chair, and the co-founder of DesiringGod.org. He is author of three books, Not by Sight, Things Not Seen, and Don’t Follow Your Heart. He and his wife have five children. Here is his blog titled: “You Must Fight Hard for Peace”