Ken Sande, in his book The Peacemaker, groups all our different responses to conflict into the categories of peace-faking, peace-breaking, and peace-making. These are helpful ways to analyse your own contributions to the lack of peace in your relationships.
Faking peace includes responses like acting as though everything is fine, blaming others or circumstances, running away from situations that get a little tense, and, in its most extreme form, taking one’s own life to escape the trouble.
Breaking peace includes responses like anger, insults, gossip, slander, fighting, and, in its most extreme form, taking the life of the one whom you think is causing all the trouble.
The perfect middle is the area of making peace. In the peace-making zone there are also many different expressions, and Biblical wisdom helps us know which response is best for each situation and helps us know when to move on to another response to the conflict.
The peace-making zone is the place of blessing (Matt 5:9). In the peace-making zone we often simply overlook offences (1 Pet 4:8; Pro 19:11). But, if we cannot do so with a true heart, or if the offence is destructive, then the wise make peace by speaking to the person involved (Matt 18:15). It is the most direct way of restoring a relationship, but, as we have all experienced, it doesn’t always get a favourable response. If one cannot truly overlook an offence, and speaking to the person directly about it produces no peace, then the wise know to get help from those wiser and more godly than ourselves (Gal 6:1-2). As an additional aid, providing oneself as accountability to another is of immense help in making peace between two sinners who both want to overcome the small and big sins that create conflict (Matt 7:1-5).
These four different peace-making methods all have their place and together always result in peace between two individuals who truly want to reconcile. When our peace-making efforts are accepted, they make for wonderful reconciliation and even better friendships. When our peace-making efforts are rejected, we can still confidently rest in the assurance that as far as it depends on us, we are no longer in the wrong (Rom 12:18). Our tendencies to fake peace and break peace need to be replaced by the things that truly make for peace.