Peacemaking and The Good Wife

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

I received this blog post in my inbox and decided to share it, since the author encourages all his followers to share this information with as many people as possible.  I must add this disclaimer:  this post contains spoilers from a television show that is currently being broadcast on network television.  I personally have never watched this show, so I do not, by any means, encourage anyone to tune in to this show.  I am sharing this post only because I trust the source from which I received it, and I believe that the point he is making is worth enduring a few minutes of exposure to this television show.  I pray that you are blessed by this post, and encouraged to find someone that you may have offended and make peace with them today.

 

Peacemaking and The Good Wife

Goodwife OrigNine million people will soon be introduced to biblical peacemaking through an hour-long television show called The Good Wife.

The Good Wife is a prime time CBS legal and political drama. Its central character is a woman named Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies), whose husband, a former state attorney general, was jailed following a moral scandal. After thirteen years as a stay-at-home mother, Alicia is forced to go back to work as a litigator to provide for her children.

The show has been highly acclaimed by critics and has picked up several major awards, earning it a sixth season, which premieres September 21. One of the show’s most popular and exciting features is when Alicia is faced with something completely new … like biblical arbitration.

How does she get into this unfamiliar forum? I can’t tell you the plot line for this show, but I can tell you how the idea for this particular script originated.

An Interesting Phone Call

Last February, I was interviewed by the New York Times for an article on conciliating a lawsuit between Christian leaders. Someone on The Good Wife production team saw the article and floated the idea of developing an episode involving Christian conciliation.

A few days later I received a call from one of the executive producers, who spent over an hour asking insightful questions about biblical peacemaking. Shortly afterwards, their team decided to build an episode around this concept.

This led to several more conversations, including a conference call with their entire writing team. They asked dozens of questions about the biblical basis of Christian conciliation, how it compares to other faith-based processes, what types of issues it can address, and its legal enforceability. They also dug deeply into the details of a typical conciliation process, such as where the parties sit, what they wear, and what role their attorneys play.

An Opportunity to Pray About

Although they’ve offered me no guarantees as to how they will portray this process or the parties involved in it, I have been impressed with their evident desire to be as realistic as possible. I’ve explained how the gospel informs a conciliation process and described several actual cases where God turned bitter lawsuits into dramatic reconciliations. This, of course, is what I hope will come through in the program, but that is in God’s hands.

The screenplay is being finalized and filming should begin in a few days. So please join me in praying that the Lord will move the screenwriters, producers, and actors to portray Christian conciliation in a positive light and introduce millions of people to the benefits of resolving conflict—including civil lawsuits (1Cor. 6:1-8)—in a biblically faithful manner.

This episode is presently scheduled to air on October 5, but it could be bumped back a week or two by competing sports events. So if you want to see it, keep your eye on your Sunday evening television schedule in October, or visit The Good Wife web site to see the rerun.

Warning

Although the series is highly acclaimed by secular critics, many Christians would find certain episodes to be offensive. (I had never viewed an episode myself until I was asked to consult with their writing team.) Some of the programs unfold like Old Testament narratives (e.g., 2 Samuel 11-13) and are filled with seduction, adultery, political backstabbing, and murder, while others involve more mundane relational and professional turmoil.

Interestingly, the program has presented Christian characters in a relatively positive light. One of them is Alicia’s daughter, whose conversion and growth as a Christian is portrayed through four seasons without the typical Hollywood clichés. Another positive portrayal involves a pastor who counsels and supports Alicia’s husband as he seeks to overcome his past.

Worldly themes certainly outnumber Christian themes, but as ReligiMedia writes, “The Good Wife has proven itself to be one of the most religiously nuanced and innovative shows in network broadcast.”

Let’s pray that the upcoming episode on biblical arbitration continues this pattern.

Learn More about Biblical Peacemaking

If you’d like to learn more about the basic principles of biblical conflict resolution, please visit theRelational Peacemaking section of our website. For more detail, read The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict (Appendices B and D focus specifically on the mediation and arbitration of lawsuits between Christians).

If you’d like to be trained as a biblical mediator or arbitrator, please visit the Training and Certificationsection of Peacemaker Ministries’ website.

Better yet, attend Peacemaker Ministries’ Living a Legacy of Peace Conference in Colorado Springs (Sept. 25-27), which will feature keynote addresses, workshops, and training courses by some of the most experienced Christian conciliators in the world, whom I’m privileged to count as dear friends and respected colleagues.

May God use all of these channels (whether a prime time television show, our RW360 website, or a peacemaking conference) to draw people closer to a gospel-centered way of resolving conflict and preserving relationships.

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  • What are the benefits and pitfalls of watching secular television shows and Hollywood movies?
  • How could Christians be tempted or misled by secular media?
  • How can we use these forms of entertainment to develop our powers of discernment, improve our relational abilities, and engage our culture in constructive ways? (See RW in the Movies and the movie books listed at the bottom of our Recommended Reading page )

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2014 Ken Sande

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Second Choice No More

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

When I read all of Romans 5, I am so thankful to the Lord for the sacrifice that He made for us. I try never to let a day go by without thanking the Lord for sending His precious Son, Jesus to die in my place. It is humbling to think that He lived the life that I was created to live and did not, then came and died the death that my sin had me condemned to die, and He did it in my place. Thank You, Jesus!

I am so thankful to Him because when I think of the whole of humanity and how unloving and ungrateful, unthankful and undeserving we are, not only of what Jesus has done for us, but we are unthankful for those He has placed around us for whatever purpose they are to have in our lives. I am so burdened by how badly husbands treat their wives in this day and time. I remember a time when marriage was the one thing that little girls hoped for and dreamed of, because they would have a knight in shining armor like their daddies, who would take care of them, and treat them with the same lovingkindness and gentleness that they have been so accustomed to all of their lives. Nowadays, it is more rare that you find a Godly husband who treats his wife with the love and affection that the Word of God instructs him to do. Ephesians 5:25-29 lays it out so clearly:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;
That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

I had a conversation with a man today who has done all but nourish and cherish his wife, and he thinks that it is okay to treat his wife like she is second class. Thank God that He sees all and knows all, and He is going to judge EVERY husband who has mistreated his wife. If He does not, then Malachi 2:13-15 must be a lie:

And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that He regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.
Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
And did not He make one? Yet had He the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

God’s Word is true. He is not going to hear the call and the cry of the one that He has witnessed dealing “treacherously” with his wife. I thought that word “treacherously” was very strong, so I looked it up in the dictionary. The definition read “deceptive, untrustworthy, or unreliable”….and I thought, wow. How appropriate a word for the man that I spoke with today. Treacherous.

1 Peter 3:7 is one of my favorite marriage verses: “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

If a husband dwells with his wife “according to knowledge”, then he has spent time learning her. He knows the things that make her happy, and the things that make her sad. He knows what she likes and dislikes, he knows how to get the best out of her, and he knows what brings out the worst. This is God’s command to husbands. Unfortunately, this is not being taught in the pulpits of today’s churches. I would venture to say that this is probably some of the most unpopular teaching in our culture.

The next phrase of that passage says that the husband is to give “honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel”…Wow. That is a loaded verse. Although I am sure this has been taken to mean that she is “second class”, that is not what the Lord is saying here. What He is saying is that there are physical differences between men and women. She is weaker physically than he is. There are some things that a woman should not be expected to do, physically speaking. Therefore, the husband should treat her as the “damsel in distress”. That does not mean that she is weak; it just means that she should not have to carry the same physical and mental load as the husband. That is why it goes on to say that they are “heirs together of the grace of life”, because she is just as important to God as he is…she is just as useful and precious and vital to the kingdom as her husband. The piece that strikes me about this passage is the part that says “that your prayers be not hindered”. Now, if I were a husband, and God said to me, hey buddy, you better treat your wife right or I will not hear your prayers, I would be as kind to my wife as possible because I do not need God to ignore my prayers!!! Nevertheless, we have the men of the church who are clueless when it comes to this concept.

God will have a word with all of you husbands who have crushed the spirits of your wives. Much of what a woman thinks of herself is wrapped up in her husband, and what he thinks of her. His perception of her is evident in how gently he speaks to her, how much he communicates with her, and how much love and affection he shows her on a regular basis. So, when she is starved of affection, communication and the feeling of self-worth, she turns into something that God did not create her to be in response to the coldness and cruelty of her husband. I know first hand of which I speak.

Praise The Lord, however, that I have gotten over feeling like second choice. Sometimes it hurts when I think about it, but for the most part, I remember what the psalmist said in Psalm 139:

“…I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well…”

I know that God loves me, and I know that I am an important part of the kingdom of God. I know He has me here “…for such a time as this…” (Esther 4:14). I know that He sees my distress, He knows full well my pain. He said so in Hebrews 4:15:

For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

He knows the betrayal, the disappointment, the accusations, the false witness, and everything that I have endured. But He loves me so much that He endured those things before me, and He has given me the assurance that I am second choice NO MORE.

To God be the glory…