My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

09 June 2005

Book Review - Blessed are the Peacemakers

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande

One of my passions in ministry is discipleship, helping and training others to become mature follower of Jesus Christ. Sometimes discipleship spills over into counseling, which I simply define as crisis discipleship. Many times, the subject of most counseling sessions isn’t a subject that, at its inception, had to be discussed between pastor and counselee. Often, it’s some sin we’re trying to root out, sometimes a sin snowballed into significant conflict in their life. Because of this pattern – this pastoral ministry of helping others work through sin, which is a valid part of a pastor’s work which I rejoice to do – I am also passionate about Christ’s disciples learning how to be self-counselors.

What is a self-counselor, you ask? I’m glad you asked. A self-counselor is one who, in times of trouble or sin or conflict, has the resources and training to go to God through His Word and there to seek and to find the help and solution he/she needs. This is not to say that one can be in a position where he/she will never need help from a pastor, but it is to say that we should all be progressing in our faith, progressing in our ability to kill sin and solve the problems it causes. Being a self-counselor means knowing how to read the Bible, how to find answers in the Bible, how to spiritually approach a problem, how to know what the root of a problem is, etc.

Toward that valiant end, I am happy to recommend to you Ken Sande’s justly-famous Peacemaker. [I believe there’s an updated edition out, but I have the first edition.] Very few books I have read come close to this one in accomplishing their stated purposes. Sande does a masterful job of being Scriptural, clear, concise, and incredibly practical all at the same time.

He begins by convincing the reader that conflict is, at the very heart, an opportunity to glorify God in a sinful world. Such an attitude changes everything! Next, he directs us to get the log out of our own eye – herein lies the place of Christian humility in peacemaking. This is one of the most powerful parts of Biblical peacemaking.

After we have resolved to glorify God and have examined ourselves by Scripture, Sande follows Scripture and directs us to confront those who offended us. Such confrontation is not the end; forgiveness and restoration are the goal we desire and he shows us how to, God-willing, arrive at that end. These last two sections, about confrontation and restoration, contain extremely valuable (trust me, please) insight into how we talk to others, how to conduct such meetings, what to say, what not to say, etc. Throughout the whole book, Sande uses vivid stories from his own ministry and the reader is left with no uncertainty as to his point.

Should you buy this book? Yes; I won’t talk to you anymore if you don’t. In order to be a solid disciple of Christ, in order to be equipped to help others during times of conflict, please buy this book and read it. The value of this book became immediately apparent to me the first time I read it. It convicted me of wrongdoing in a confrontation I was trying to solve and set me on a Biblical path. My copy is highlighted and marked up in all the right spots, and I expect to use it whenever I have opportunity to help someone through a time of conflict.


Ellen Olivetti said...

I will be buying this book. I am convinced the saints have the ability - indeed the responsibility - to work through problems biblically and help others do the same. You know the heart I have for biblical counseling and this book seems to be a must-read in that department. Before we can biblically counsel others, we have to know how to self-counsel. I am looking forward to reading this book.

Ellen Olivetti said...

Are you aware there is another book by the same author, enbtitled "Peacemaking for Families?" Wondered if you had read that and what your thoughts are on it.

Jared said...

I've heard about the follow-up he wrote (I think there are others, as well), but haven't read them yet. I'd be interested to hear if they're helpful.