Peacemaking in China

A series on key topics related to personal peacemaking in Chinese cultural contexts. Most posts are based on excerpts from Jolene Kinser’s forthcoming book, Changing Normal: A New Approach to Conflict, Face Issues, and Restoring Relationships.

All quotes from interviews have been translated from Chinese; the names of the Chinese Christians who were interviewed have been changed to protect their privacy.

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Working Our “Initiate Conversation” Muscle

As long as our motivation comes from a godly desire for peace and reconciliation, seeking clarity in relationships is worth the effort. Someone has to take the first step to initiate conversation. For those seeking to reflect God’s face in relationships, let’s be the ones doing the initiating.

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Transformative Relationships

Self-Control, Prayer, and Reflection

God calls us to exercise self-control and listen well. And while challenging to live out, relating to others in this way is not impossible! Many of those I interviewed in China… described this spiritual fruit growing in their lives and the difference it made relationally.

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Bearing With: Recognizing and Accepting Differences

We are all members of the body of Christ. And while there are appropriate times to leave a particular ministry or church to find another, when the reason for leaving is related to conflict triggered by differences, please pause, and first consider taking biblical peacemaking steps.

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Love In Action

Thankfully, God loves us with actions and in truth whether we are at odds with him or not. Investing in a relationship with someone we are at odds with, assuming it is not an abusive relationship, can reflect that same type of love and have significant impact.

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Gospel Power at Work in the Heart

Gaining a true view of ourselves from God is humbling and freeing and can spur us on to apologize for our contributions to conflict.

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The Benefits of Giving Face

Wu Chunhua described it in this way: “If you give a person face, that person will slowly relax and won’t be as confrontational and resistant in the relationship. The conflict will ease up. It won’t continue to get bigger.”

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When a Gift Is Not Enough

When it comes to receiving an apology, we often want to hear a verbal apology. Yet, how often do we personally avoid giving a verbal apology when we have messed up?

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Barriers to Apologizing, Part 2

Li Qiang said, “Chinese culture has moralized everything. Someone who makes a mistake is seen as flawed, deficient, and having shortcomings. A person who has not made mistakes is morally higher.”

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Barriers to Apologizing, Part 1

Should Li Qiang behave according to the general expectations of the superior person and not apologize? Or should he obey the Bible, confess his sin, apologize, and face whatever possible negative repercussions there may be, if or when they come?

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An Elephant in the Room: Face

In our conflict resolution conversations, conflict coaching, and mediation help, face is sometimes the elephant in the room—if never acknowledged and addressed, reconciliation is hindered. Let’s address the elephant in the room and develop a new God-centered orientation to face.