Airlines publish route maps with curved lines connecting the destinations where they fly. Most of those lines are connected to one city or a handful of cities. The airlines call these hubs. If you fly with that airline often, sooner or later you’ll pass through their hub to get to your final destination, even if it appears to be an indirect route on a map.
Stage 1: Meet with God is the hub of the Peace Pursuit Model. Whatever your role and level of conflict, I urge you to meet with God and go through Stage 1 sooner rather than later if you want to arrive at your destination of peace. Even if you have to backtrack to get to Stage 1, it’s actually the most direct route toward peace. When I’m asked to mediate a complicated conflict, I almost always discover that one or more of the parties did not meet with God and fully complete Stage 1. So, I guide the parties back to the hub of Stage 1. This gets them on the right route toward peace. You can begin Stage 1 in the Peace Pursuit QUICK START GUIDE here.
Q: What are the benefits of Stage 1: Meet with God?
Stage 1 is an encounter with God. That’s always beneficial for you. Through prayer and reflection on his word, you engage with him alone spiritually, mentally, and emotionally before you talk with another party in the conflict. Stage 1 helps you see yourself, the other party, and the problem objectively in the light of biblical principles.
Stage 1 creates an environment for the Holy Spirit to speak to you and for you to hear him clearly, whatever your role. As you prayerfully and thoughtfully process the Stage 1 steps for your role, the Holy Spirit will comfort, help, and encourage you (John 14:16-17). He will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).
Many people call Stage 1 an exercise in personal spiritual renewal. One person told me she has used Stage 1 in her devotional times. I know couples who use Stage 1 to protect and build their marriages and to train their children to be biblical peacemakers.
Stage 1 helps you approach the relational problem objectively, whatever your personality, temperament, or spiritual gifting.
If you are the type of person who tends to rush in to fix conflicts, Stage 1 in the QUICK START GUIDE gives God the opportunity to slow you down. It lets you take a breath and look at the conflict from all sides before you act out of well-meaning haste.
If you are the type of person who tends to “give the benefit of the doubt” and is cautious or fearful to address relational problems, Stage 1 gives God the opportunity to gently nudge you toward filling an appropriate Peace Pursuit role.
Q: I’ve seen the QUICK START GUIDE. Stage 1 looks like a lot of work. Do I really have to complete every step every time?
A close friend of mine has earned his living for more than 35 years as a pilot of multi-engine jet airplanes. His job includes training other pilots and inspecting their competence. He tells me that he still manually goes through a check list before every take-off. Why does such an experienced and skilled pilot still manually complete a check list he could recite from memory? He does it just to make sure he doesn’t miss even the simplest step out of pride, laziness, impatience, or neglect.
Each step of Peace Pursuit Stage 1 is meant to protect you from crashing on take-off as you pursue peace. Stage 1 will protect you from moving too fast, delaying too long, or forgetting an important principle as you begin. Stage 1 protects you from turning a simple relational problem into a disastrous explosion.
Practically speaking, and based on experience, you’ll more likely reach peace if you meet with God at Stage 1 before you talk with the other person than if you don’t complete Stage 1. If you don’t invest the time and effort to process Stage 1, you could create much more work and heartache than is necessary for you and others later. The more you practice going through Stage 1, the more you’ll know which steps you can go through quickly and which ones you need to spend more time on in a given situation. Still, make sure you have a look at each step for your role before you decide to have or not to have a Stage 2 conversation.
Check out the Peace Pursuit QUICK START GUIDE.