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Conflicts are Opportunities

The Bible has much to say about interpersonal relationships and provides very practical guidance for navigating conflicts. Students at New Song, like all of us, have regular opportunities to put peacemaking to use, and recently they were given the tools to do so. 

School at New Song begins each day with a chapel period where students learn God’s Word through the teaching of our Campus Director, Kyle Augsburger, and from time to time other ministry team members. Our students recently completed a month-long study about conflict resolution, learning invaluable tools that can benefit them throughout their lives. 

The girls were taught that at the center of every conflict is a desire that wages war in the heart. James 4:1-12 teaches us that truth. In a conflict, we often see the ruling desire in the other party before we identify the one in our own heart. But it takes two to quarrel. 

James offers the remedy we need for our conflicts, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Hard as it is, we are to take the first step and humble ourselves, pursuing resolution with the grace that God promises to give. We cannot charge into conflicts with the intent to win the dispute, nor can we run away from it. 

Resolution requires a commitment to please God no matter how the other person responds. Jesus instructs his followers to “take the log out of their own eye” before trying to help remove the speck in their brother’s. Examining our own personal motives requires great humility. 

Through the peacemaking study in chapel, which consisted of nearly 20 lessons, our students learned how to own their part of conflicts and make sincere confessions. They learned that God always commands us to take the first step, and not to passively wait for the other person to come. 

We have seen the students begin to respond to these truths by taking responsibility for their words and actions, by admitting their sin and seeking forgiveness. At the same time, they have been learning what it means to forgive, which can be very difficult. 

We concluded this important series by asking the class to explain how the lessons over the last four weeks had impacted them. As the students shared a personal application to the truths that had influenced them, our staff was blessed to hear their real-life applications. After all, growth and change is the goal of studying the Word of God! 

Chapel services at New Song allow us to unpack such important teachings like peacemaking every day. We are grateful that the students have been responsive to the scriptures and are demonstrating a desire to please God by putting what they’ve learned into practice. 

ON FORGIVENESS

We have seen the students begin to respond to these truths by taking responsibility for their words and actions, by admitting their sin and seeking forgiveness. At the same time, they have been learning what it means to forgive, which can be very difficult.

To forgive is to make four serious promises. First, when we forgive we promise to never bring the offense up again to harm the other person. Second, we promise to not dwell on the offense, but entrust ourselves to the one who judges justly. “Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay” (Rom 12:19). The substitutionary death of Christ, once for all, assures sin has been paid for in full. He will never require payment for the sins of his people, Christ has already paid it!

Thirdly, in forgiveness we commit to never talking about the other person’s offenses to other people. As far as we are concerned, matters that are forgiven are closed cases. And lastly, by extending forgiveness we are promising to pursue relationship with the other person to the highest degree that it is possible.

Pursuing peace includes making every effort to love the other person and please God, no matter how they respond. The power to practice this supernatural, counter-cultural charge comes from the grace and mercy God has shown us in Christ. Truly, he who has been forgiven much, forgives much!

Written by Kyle Augsburger, Campus Director