Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book Review: Peacemaking for Families

I recently borrowed Peacemaking for Families from a friend. The question that I was asking myself was, "Is it really necessary to get this book if I already have The Peacemaker by the same author, Ken Sande? Does this book add anything new?" What follows are my discoveries upon comparing the two books.

Peacemaking for Families (PFF) does indeed make a valuable contribution to the Christian bookshelf, even for those who may already own The Peacemaker (PM). The book is divided into four parts and totals twelve chapters. The first half of PFF is essentially an abridgment of PM with practical applications made to family life. Parts of the material are taken from PM verbatim while other parts are summarized. Depending on your personality, you may prefer one or the other.

(I must confess, I have not read either of these books in their entirety. I had borrowed both from a friend but found PM at a book sale shortly thereafter. As a result, I began reading PFF first so that I could return it to my friend. However, I did not want to re-read portions of the book that I would later be reading in PM. Thus began my comparison.)

While all of PFF is worth reading (especially if you don't have PM or haven't read it in a while), I found it particularly helpful starting with Chapter 7. Following that chapter, the second half of the book moves into practical application of peacemaker principals including:

Teaching Children to Be Peacemakers (Ch. 8)
Making Peace with Children (Ch. 9)
Conflict Between Adult Family Members (Ch. 10)
Getting Help for a Troubled Marriage (Ch. 11)
Insurance Policies for a Healthy Marriage (Ch. 12)

Here are a few quotes that were particularly meaningful to me:

"...if a child becomes resentful, sullen, or angry when not getting what he or she wants, it is evident that a worldly desire has taken control of his or her heart. In biblical terms, the desire has become a functional god or idol that is temporarily ruling that child's life" (Peacemaking for Families, pg. 117).

"The fact is, every time we have a conflict with a child, we have a choice to make: Am I going to make much of my child's sin, or am I going to make much of God's redeeming grace? It's one or the other. We will either 'glorify' our child, or we will glorify the Lord.

The more you focus on your child's behavior, the more likely you are to be controlled by bitterness, resentment, or anger. The more you focus on God's love and promises, the more likely you are to be led to repent, confess, forgive, and change.

Therefore, when you find yourself in a conflict with your child, develop the habit of pausing for a moment before you speak. Reflect on who you are in Christ--redeemed and forgiven--and remember that God's covenant is not only for you but for you child as well (Acts 2:39). Quietly thank God for all He has done for you and your child through Christ and for all He is presently doing for both of you through the Holy Spirit" (Peacemaking for Families, pg 132-133).

"I want to emphasize again the importance of always ministering the gospel when confronting others…Jesus died for your sins as well as mine. He paid for all of them on the cross. He has come into my heart and forgiven me of my selfish, prideful desires. With His help, I am determined to change my attitudes and behaviors toward you and everyone else in the family. And He can help you to do the same…" (Peacemaking for Families, pg 159-160).

I'll stop there on account that the book is copyrighted! However, if you'd like more of a sampling, check these out:

Teaching Children to Be Peacemakers - Twelve Principals

What It Takes to Teach Children Peacemaking Skills

Appendix F - The Cross and Criticism by Dr. Alfred J. Poirier (A Phenomenal Article!)

You can also find the Table of Contents and part of Chapter 1 at Christian Book Distributors site.

Happy Reading!! I'd love to hear your comments if you've read this book or read this material!

Mrs. David Hankins

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