Conflict is never easy, and is in my opinion one of the hardest things to engage in as a Christian. One reason why conflict is so hard is as Christians we are both saints and sinners. As Christians we have a positional identity as adopted sons and daughters of the King, and yet we because we haven’t been glorified by Jesus we still sin. This is one of the chief reasons why conflict is so hard, because in dealing with difficult situations we are confronted by our own sin and the sins of others. In his helpful new book Pursuing Peace a Christian Guide To Handling Our Conflicts Dr. Robert Jones a Professor and seasoned Pastor writes to help Christians understand how the Gospel relates to conflict and how to engage conflict situations by applying the Gospel to our lives.
One of the greatest struggles in my own life as a Christian as it relates to conflict has been in handling criticism in godly ways that glorify God. Owning up to our own failures is never easy and often times I have minimized my own part in various conflict situations in my life rather than taking responsibility for my sin and repenting for them. Thankfully I’ve learned from these various situations and have repented of my sin, but still have a long way to go in terms of dealing better with conflict situations.
Dr. Jones in chapter six identifies three steps for apologizing that makes a difference, confessing our sins to those we have offended. The first step is to identify your offenses, using a “plank list” and confess our sins to God, receive his forgiveness, and seek his help” (91). Ken Sande gives seven vital characteristics of confession, “First, address everyone involved, second, avoid, if, but and maybe, third, admit specifically, fourth, acknowledge the hurt, fifth, accept consequences, sixth, alter your behavior (at least explain how you intend to do so), and finally ask for forgiveness and allow time” (98-103).
Having been on the receiving end of true confession and also having given true confession I can tell you that true confession brings healing, but that it takes time for healing to occur especially when the hurt has been deep. Pursuing Peace a Christian Guide To Handling Our Conflicts by Robert Jones is an important book because it helps us to focus not on ourselves, but upon the work that Jesus did to reconcile us to God, which provides the framework for Christian’s reconciliation with each other. This book will help Christians to learn how their reconciliation with God relates to dealing with difficult people, handling criticism and more in a godly way by holding up the treasure of Christ to a watching and waiting world. I recommend every Christian read Pursuing Peace a Christian Guide To Handling Our Conflicts to learn how the Gospel relates to conflict and how to handle difficult situations in God-glorifying ways.
Author: Robert Jones
Publisher: Crossway (2012)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”