Integrating faith with everyday life is one of the joys of teaching at a university with a faith-based purpose and mission. For those of us who teach in the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University, it means integrating faith into the business life. In my particular instruction, it includes teaching about law.
One of the major aspects a businessperson must be prepared to address is legal conflict. The business may be sued. The business may have been damaged and need to pursue a legal claim to be made whole. This can be an intense, aggressive, time-consuming and negative process and experience.
At the same time, we are compelled to live out the multiple verses that call for peace in the life of the believer and all that we do, such as: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9) and “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).
What a challenge, especially as we recognize that the heart of the gospel is peace and reconciliation.
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Col. 1:20)
“All this from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor. 5:18)
While you would have to take my class to get my full attempt to teach on this matter, I do embrace and talk to the students about utilizing Peacemaking Principles in Christian conflict resolution. The following principles, and others, are all principles I learned in conciliator training through Peacemaker Ministries. This includes such things as:
- The Four G’s of Peacemaking
- Glorify God
- Get the log out of your eye
- Gently restore
- Go and be reconciled
- The PAUSE Principle of Negotiating (Phil. 2:3-4; Matt. 7:12)
- Affirm relationships
- Understand interests
- Search for creative solutions
- Evaluate options objectively and reasonably
- The Four Promises of Forgiveness (Matt. 6:12; 1 Cor. 13:5; Eph. 4:32)
- I will not dwell on this incident.
- I will not bring this incident up and use it against you.
- I will not talk to others about this incident.
- I will not allow this incident to stand between us or hinder our relationship.
The students are encouraged to have the businesses they create, build and serve in, embrace the alternative dispute resolution process of the Institute for Christian Conciliation (part of Peacemaker Ministries). These principles have been effective in resolving conflict and restoring relationships among individuals and organizations (Fortune 500 companies included).
My students are taught about using contract provisions that waive the right to bring suit in court and commit to using an alternative dispute resolution process controlled by the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation. This can be put in contracts with employees, vendors, partners and multiple other business relationships. The goal of the process outlined by the rules is both a meaningful and binding resolution of the dispute and peace (preservation or restoration of the relationship).
Let us embrace a full life, including business life that “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18).
The Colangelo College of Business follows the guiding principles of servant leadership, ethics and entrepreneurism. For more information about our college, visit the GCU website.
More about Jon:
Jon began his legal career as an attorney with the Washington, D.C. area law firm Gammon & Grange, P.C. He has been representing tax-exempt organizations and businesses for 20+ years through Gammon & Grange and his own law firm. Jon is a graduate of Grace University (BA), Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM) and the University of Minnesota Law School (JD). He has built and sold several businesses, helped entrepreneurs start others and served in leadership with Starbucks Coffee Company and BandPage. He is currently with Google. He is also general counsel for Christian Camp and Conference Association, Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and Outreach, Inc. Jon and his wife, Leslie, enjoy living in downtown Phoenix.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.