I first learned about the ministry of PeaceWise through my friend Wendy, who came alongside me during a particularly painful time of conflict.
Through PeaceWise, I learned strategies in conflict that enable me now to apply the gospel to myself, and live it out in relationships.
We can easily see conflict and battles as leading to defeat, but there are better ways to understand this natural part of the Christian life.
The letter of James talks about how conflict comes from the sin that battles within us, not from other people failing to recognise our innocence and righteousness.
For me, freedom came with knowing my part in the conflict, even when it looked like it was all the other person’s fault. I needed to acknowledge, confess and repent of that sin.
In the end, conflict is not the main issue, but instead, it’s how we respond to that conflict. In my case, I responded with unforgiveness, anger, blame, bitterness, gossip and withdrawal from the relationship.
After God dealt with my heart and I confessed my sinful response to being hurt, I went and apologised to the person.
It was crucial for me to know that all I could do was control my own part, and not the reaction of the person I was in conflict with.
As I was changed by God, he was glorified through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in me and in the conflicted relationship.
I look forward to sharing this wonderful ministry of PeaceWise in our church through our Bible Studies and through the one-day training course in Personal Peacemaking.
I pray that we will all benefit and walk with others who experience painful conflict, and that together, we will know deeply the hope and freedom that comes from living the gospel we have received.