To say I dislike confrontation is a great understatement. Abhor, despise, loathe – yep that pretty much sums it up. Whatever my circumstances, I seek to be a peacemaker. I know conflict is real and must be addressed, yet I confess to you that it is not an easy thing for me. Whether that is good or bad, I don’t know, but it’s part of my DNA. So this past week – as the seemingly purposeless violence and ensuing angry confrontations in our society have been unfolding on Social Media and news stations – I have been both appalled and saddened by what I’ve seen and heard. I’ve tried to understand how, as a follower of Christ, I can stay positive and keep focused on my goal of being an encourager. I know for a fact I’m not going to go on Facebook and encourage anyone through a “virtual argument”. And I’m choosing to ignore a lot of the news because I honestly believe they are only focusing on the relatively small number of negative behaviors and are choosing to ignore the many positive behaviors that people are engaging in to “be the change”.
As a Christian, there are two things I absolutely understand about what’s going on: (1) I know that ultimately God is still in control, and (2) I know that this world is not perfect and never will be since it’s inhabited by us “human types”. But I still want some concrete examples and guidelines of positive ways I can respond so as not to add to the actions I’m witnessing that simply keep perpetuating the hate and violence . I believe that Christians are to seek peace and be peacemakers.
So I ask, is there something I can actively do to foster peace in times of conflict and confrontation? And my answer was found in Abigail. You can read the entire story of Abigail in I Samuel 25, but the summary is this. Abigail was married to a surly, mean man named Nabal. He jeopardized the safety of their household because he chose to be confrontational toward David. Of course this made David choose to confront Nabal, and he likely would have killed him. This is when Abigail the peacemaker steps in and meets David in her peaceful appeal for her brute of a husband’s life as well as her entire household’s. There are characteristics I notice about Abigail that I must imitate in my quest to be a peacemaker .
Abigail had a strong faith in the Lord and she had a strong gift for peacemaking. She knew when to overlook and when to confront – she was a wise woman of discernment. Am I?
Her appeal to David was respectful – not full of threats and demands. Is that how I ask for what I want?
And she knew when to remain silent. Do I? Are there times when I feel like I’m going to get my opinion across and lose sight of who I am and my true purpose? It is in tense moments that I must remain firmly fixed on God’s purpose for me, instead of promoting my own agenda. Because that won’t lead to peace.
My prayer is that instead of acting rashly, I will learn to pause and discern if my words and actions will be wise and promote love, health, and godliness. Where I’m lacking, I must ask God to help me grow in grace and wisdom.
I’m going to close with these exhortations that remind me of who I must be and how I must act no matter what others around me are doing:
- Love one another. (John 13:34)
- Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16)
- Stop passing judgment on one another. (Romans 14:13)
- Be kind and compassionate to one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Spur one another on to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)
Dear friends, make it a great and blessed week and seek and share peace!