Monday, February 20, 2012

Are You a Peacemaker?

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

Matthew 5:9
How do you handle conflict? Are you a person who strives to keep the peace in your family, or when offended, do you lash out and seek revenge?

Many in our society today frown on people who try to keep the peace, perceiving them as weak or timid for not standing up and fighting for their "rights." While we don't want to let others treat us like a doormat, we also don't have to assert ourselves every time someone upsets us.

In Genesis 26 we see an example of a peacemaker in Isaac (although later we see that Isaac isn't much of a peacemaker within his own family). Isaac has been blessed by God--just as his father Abraham--with many flocks, herds, crops, and servants. His wealth and prosperity earn him the envy and violence of his neighbors, the Philistines, who stop up his wells out of jealousy. Wells were the primary water source in the desert region: the sole means for watering livestock and supplying the people encamped in the area. By plugging up Isaac's wells, the Philistines were essentially threatening Isaac to either move on or fight. Isaac certainly had recourse to fight back when the Philistines ruined his wells, but what did he do?

Isaac kept the peace.

In two different locations, Isaac dug new wells, and each time the local people quarreled with him about ownership of the water source. After the first dispute, Isaac simply dug another well (26:21). But after the second argument, he moved on (26:22). After digging a third well and finding a fresh source of water, "no one quarreled over it."

Like his father, Abraham, who generously offered Lot his choice of land when their herdsmen were fighting, Isaac compromises his own happiness in order to keep the peace among his neighbors.

It's ironic, too, that afterwards, the Philistine leader Abimelech approaches Isaac for a peace treaty with him: after all, it is the Philistines who have been the ones creating conflict for Isaac, not the other way around. Still, Abimelech saw that the Lord was with Isaac and was blessing him, and they feared Isaac's God.

Again, how does Isaac respond?  Does he drag up all the bad things from the past that the Philistines have done to him and send Abimelech away?  No!

Instead, we learn in verse 30 that Isaac made a feast for them: he had a party to celebrate their new relationship. Then, the two parties swore an oath of peace and went on their way.

Even though the Lord was on his side, blessing him and making him prosperous, Isaac kept the peace among his neighbors. He turned away from fighting, he avoided conflict, and he compromised his own happiness for the sake of others.

When an "enemy" tries to reconcile with you, are you quick like Isaac to forgive and forget, or do you harbor a grudge?

Do you attempt to assert YOUR rights over the rights of others, or are you willing to give up your own desire for happiness for the happiness of others?

"Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."

Psalm 34:14
May we resolve today and every day to be peacemakers, striving to avoid conflict when possible, to forgive and forget, and to act with love.  Being a peacemaker will not make us successful in the world's eyes, but the Lord will bless us and call us His sons (and daughters)!

Blessings to you!

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  1. I try to be a peacemaker. Sometimes it depends on who hurt me and how badly I was hurt. I might hold a grudge for a little while, but if the person is truly sorry, I forgive. I feel that often times I am seen as weak, instead of strong.

    1. I think it's easy to hold a grudge. That's my natural inclination. However, I have to remind myself of what Jesus suffered for me and how He never held a grudge against those who hurt Him. Instead, He prayed for His enemies. That is something I have to work on personally...being a person who prays for and forgives her enemies.

  2. A wonderful topic, I avoid conflict as much as possible. I like that picture too because I miss the beach. I'm visiting from the Teach Me Tuesday hop and followed you w/ GFC & liked your FB page. Hope you can follow back!

    1. Me, too, Cheryl. I am a passive aggressive person by nature which is not good because when I reach my boiling point, I tend to take out my anger on those closest to me.

      Thanks for stopping by! I love your blog and will be visiting you too!

  3. Very encouraging!So thankful I stumbled upon your blog today.

    1. I am so glad you were blessed by this post. That is such an encouragement to me. Thanks for stopping by!