- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Restoration Publishing; 1st edition (June 12, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0989339009
- ISBN-13: 978-0989339001
- Package Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,601,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The End of Conflict: Resisting False Utopia in Hope of True Restoration Paperback – June 12, 2013
IT IS FINISHED! Or is it? We may be OK with God, but not with our neighbor. Or boss. Or spouse. Or sibling. Or child. Yet, if the Gospel is about conflict serving redemption and it is then the pardon of the resurrection should result in the power for reconciliation here and now. With clarity, charity, and concision, Andy Johnson wrestles with and pins down how then shall we live in the redeemed world so that love, forgiveness, and reconciliation become more than slogans; they become the substance of our very lives. And, that is the life worth living here and now. --Jeffery J. Ventrella, JD, PhD, Senior Counsel, Senior Vice-President, Alliance Defending Freedom
Andy Johnson's book is a compendium of teachings on the topic of conflict resolution. He draws from thinkers in philosophy, psychology, and theology. In addition to offering insights from his own life experience and thoughtful Bible study, Andy cares about people, and he wants to see people unified in truth and love. My prayer is for this book to help make that happen. --Sarah Sumner, PhD, Former Dean of A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary and Author of Leadership above the Line
This is the best book I have ever read about conflict and the associated issues. Andy has done a brilliant job sharing new insights through the scriptures, his own experience, and the resonance of a fictional story that is weaved throughout. Comprehensive, creative, and enlightening. My understanding of the end of conflict is forever changed. --Ron Price, Internationally recognized business advisor, speaker, and author
About the Author
Andy Johnson is a consultant and team coach that specializes in conflict reduction and team development in Christian organizations and churches. He writes from the perspective of someone who has experienced the pain of conflict and has sought after biblical wisdom for solace. He is also a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the State of Idaho and an ordained minister. His work in the Christian community is under the name Restoration Consulting as part of his overall consulting practice with Price Associates.
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It never came...thank God.
In my situation, I am a whistleblower. What could have been so easily dealt with became a massive coverup. The 'mobbing' devastated my family, ruined our financial well-being, my physical health and left me with a loneliness I never thought possible. You bet I want justice.
Until Johnson's book, all I could hear were voices of other believers, "Let go and let God. GIVE it to God. Love is not easily offended." They were forgetting that there are levels of sin; therefore levels of conflict. This is all too common among believers. Well-meaning people using watered down theology causing the victim to bear the guilt for having resentment and wanting justice. This book is the first of its kind: A Christian view that does not tell me to "JUST get over it."
With a solid Biblical, historical view of conflict, the reader is reminded that the The Holy Spirt is the ultimate confronter, and Jesus' words and actions (Jesus got ticked off, too) showed righteous anger when faced with egregiousness. "Peacemaking ought never be at the expense of justice." (p. 129) It is loving to overlook the small stuff. It is NOT loving to avoid confronting another's path of destruction. This reader is now a step closer to freedom from resentment; whether justice comes in this world or the next.
Lord, haste the day, right?
I was told by the subculture I was raised in that when external conflict occurs that I (especially as a female) should apologize for whatever I'd done to create the conflict and/or forgive unequivocally and unquestioningly whoever had created the conflict for me with the warning that if I didn't, I wouldn't be forgiven. If I were faithful and did all this, I would have peace. All would be well with me.
Having been a victim of egregious sexual abuse, can you imagine how this created a perpetual internal conflict for me?
Andy Johnson asked me to review his book, The End of Conflict: Resisting False Utopia in Hope of True Restoration, from the standpoint of those who are coming from the same perspective I am--those who believe that the aforementioned "conflict resolution" strategies, in a word... suck.
Those strategies in isolation do suck, and Andy tells us very simply, methodically, thoroughly, and Biblically why that is. He explains that our view of God comes from conflict, and he is spot on. In my own experience with conflict, I thought God was either too weak to rescue me, or He was too cruel--because no matter how hard I prayed for a reprieve, nothing changed. Why wouldn't I think that? Here's what you have to understand: I was being molested nightly and then expected to forgive "seventy-times-seven"--which pretty much amounts to me having to forgive my perpetrator every time without fail. Not only that, I was expected to "turn the other cheek". In other words, I had to basically "lay down for it" every time. And then forgive.
Again and again and again.
The peace in my home was "counterfeit", which Andy says happens all the time. I pretended to have "inner peace" because that's what my church said I should have if Jesus lived in my heart. My mother evaded the truth half the time while she had amnesia the other half. We were all just faking it and faking the fact that we were faking it. Not God's idea of shalom, but what else did I know? When Andy reviewed the "Roles and Responsibilities" of those in conflict, I could name each of them in my own family: the perpetrator (my step-monster), the target (the children) the accomplice (my mother), the bystander (also my mother) and the authorities (the church). I see the church as the "authority" that signed off on this patriarchal system that gave my step-monster absolute power and forced my mother to abide by whatever he wanted to do with us. Children were even further down on the pecking order. And finally, God sat silently somewhere up in Heaven on His throne watching all of it play out. So, believe me when I tell you that Andy is correct: conflict does form one's view of God.
Other tidbits of truth: not every sin is the same. Some sins are more egregious than others and are not equal to every other sin.
Thank God, Almighty! Somebody FINALLY SAID IT!
Some more golden nuggets from this book that I find downright refreshing: There are degrees of sin. The phrase we always hear, "Sin is sin!" is one of those pretty little lies as is the notion that there are no innocent victims. There are. Another myth: Sinners can't help sinning. They can. And this whole "neutrality" crap where people tell themselves, "It's not my responsibility" or "I'm not getting involved" is really a sugar-coated way of saying, "Hey, I'm actually really morally indifferent!" or "I'm going to excuse myself from becoming involved with conflict (i.e. complicit with wrongdoing) because, you know... it's not like it's happening to me!" To paraphrase Andy, in a conflict, to do nothing is a failure to condemn the practice of the oppressed. We need moral courage--not moral indifference. To quote Andy directly, "To attempt neutrality is, by default, to side with the perpetrator." Neutrality helps the oppressor--never the victim. Silence never comforts or brings peace to the oppressed.
Andy makes the point that a lifestyle change is consistent with repentance and necessary for reconciliation. When a person causes pain or harm or conflict upon another, acknowledges that, apologizes, and changes the way he or she does life--that is transformation. Forgiveness can (can!) then occur. The way I did it for the first two decades of my life left me picking up the tab every time for what my perpetrator did. Reconciliation is the ultimate goal, but is that always possible?
In my situation, and this is no secret--I wrote a whole book about it--I made the choice to be reconciled within myself and to break free from the cycle of perpetual and continual abuse: I severed the relationship between me and the people who raised me. With very few exceptions, I have not engaged with them since 1996. People have questioned and accused me of all sorts of unforgiveness and bitterness because I made that choice, but Andy gets it. If It's Happened to You, you might too.
I have never been allowed to tell them the extent of my pain. (This probably has a lot to do with why I wrote a book, if you're psycho-analyzing.) When they were confronted with their sins, they gathered us all around the kitchen table where they begged our forgiveness and admonished us that if we didn't forgive them, we wouldn't be forgiven of our sins. In other words, if this isn't resolved, it's your fault--not ours.
Then many years of torture to at least four precious children was cast as far as the east is from the west so nobody needed to revisit it again. So, I decided I could be "wrong" for the rest of my life--just so long as nobody expected me to come for Christmas.
Judge if you want to, but it is what it is.
I am not looking for anyone to validate me. I love Andy to pieces and he is a dear, dear friend, but I'm not looking for him to validate me either. But his work did resonate with me and was a huge comfort to my spirit. I don't get a lot of confirmation for my choices from those who were there. And you know what line in Andy's book brought me the greatest comfort? This one:
There is a day coming when this book will be irrelevant and useless!
Amen and amen, Andy. I'm writing about something very similar right now in Hope Givers: Hope is Here--the fact that one day there will be no such thing as abuse. The word victim will be erased from our eternal minds. In fact, conflict will cease to exist. Every tear will be wiped from our eyes. We crazy Christians have this completely insane belief that keeps us going--it's called our blessed hope. You can ask Andy or me about it anytime. Sometimes it's the only thing that gets us out of bed in the morning, this sweet redemption and insane notion that Someone is making His second trip to this planet one day... and all will be made right.
I have to believe it... nothing else makes sense.
(Daisy Rain Martin is the author of Juxtaposed: Finding Sanctuary on the Outside and If It's Happened to You. Look for her third book, Hope Givers: Hope is Here, in the fall of 2014.) [...]
The book begins with the beginning, as Johnson brings us to creation, the world without conflict, and the God who is the God of Shalom. These chapters are fascinating, as we begin to see some conflict in the Bible that we might be more comfortable glossing over. In particular, we see how God dealt with conflict in many ways. This suggests that perhaps we aren't to deal with conflict the same way in every situation.
Then the author deals with the question of conflict, and what it is. I wouldn't have thought this was important to discuss, but as I read through the chapters on conflict, I was convinced otherwise. Not only have we misunderstood God and His relationship to conflict, but we have often misunderstood conflict itself. We say that conflict is a result of personalities, situations, etc., rather than saying it like it is; conflict is a result of sin. His end definition of conflict is this:
"A conflict is the presence of a broken relationship that has resulted form the commission of sinful actions growing out of inordinate or sinful desires on the part of one party, the offender, against the other, the offended."
Want to see how he gets there? Read the book!
The next section deals with the topic of forgiveness. This is an area that we often go wrong, but if we are building on the foundation that Johnson has laid, we naturally move to a more Biblically grounded concept of forgiveness. There are some really important questions answered in this section. Does God forgive sin which isn't confessed? Is forgiveness conditional? How much should our forgiveness reflect Gods?
The final section is also intriguing. What do we do when those who have sinned against us refuse to do anything about it? What do we do when they don't confess? How are we to respond, both inwardly and outwardly? These are not easy questions, so he doesn't move quickly through the answers. Instead, we see some careful consideration of different passages which deal with just this.
All in all, a great book. I recommend it for every Christian. In particular, I believe church leaders need to hone in on this idea of conflict resolution, and how we should deal with it both Scripturally and hopefully effectively.