Tomorrow, I plan to start teaching a class at the Contact Church based on the book Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande and Tom Raabe. While Janet and I were attending FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember marriage seminar last spring, we bought the book (along with several other books focusing on family issues and biblical principles). These are my notes for the class:
*Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah referred to him at the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). The early American revival preacher Barton W. Stone wrote, "Christ is the Prince of Peace; the Church of Christ is the Kingdom of Peace." Jesus Christ promised, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9, NIV). The apostle Paul noted that one product of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is peace (Galatians 5:22).
*In this Bible class, we will be focusing on making peace in our families. However, much of the material may be applied to other areas of our lives.
*The word peace is a relational term. It centers on our relationships with each other. We are living in peace when we are living in harmony...when our relationships are wholesome.
*Sometimes peace may be impossible. After all, some people may not want to be at peace with us no matter how much we may want it or how well we apply the principles of peacemaking that we plan to learn over the next several sessions. "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18, NIV).
*In Peacemaking for Families, Ken Sande and Tom Raabe state, "There are three ways we can handle conflicts in normal family life. We can be peace-fakers, denying that we have problems, always giving in, or becoming distant from family members. We can be peace-breakers, relying on manipulation, a sharp tongue, or overt anger to compel others to give in to our wishes...Our third option is to use the conflicts of family life to become peacemakers, drawing on God's grace and practicing the powerful peacemaking principles He has given to us in His Word" (preface).
*Depending on our temperament and background, we are likely to gravitate toward either peace-faking or peace-breaking. We will tend to be either passive in response to conflict or aggressive in causing conflict or a combination of both. Peacemaking does not come naturally; but it can come supernaturally as we become open to learning and applying the biblical principles taught by Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles.
*Our goal is to become peacemakers in our families. We want to be able to live in harmony with our spouses, our children, our siblings, our parents, our in-laws, and our other extended family members as much as possible.
*We will spend several weeks exploring the principles of peacemaking in our families.