At CityLife yesterday, I talked about how God blesses us when we are peacemakers.
The world around us is filled with conflict. There is conflict between countries and inside of countries. There is conflict at work and at school. There is conflict in marriage and in family.
God has called us to be peacemakers. And, there is a blessing attached to peacemaking. Notice what Jesus says as reported by Matthew. Matthew 5:9 says, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”
We all tend to have one of two reactions when faced with conflict. We are either people who exercise “fight” (we stand up and fight for our rights and we fight to win) or we exercise “flight” (we back down and run away to protect ourselves and others).
Both of those are legitimate reactions, but none of them lead to real peace. The truth is that peacemaking is found somewhere in the middle.
Abraham was faced with this situation. He made a treaty with a king named Abimelech. After securing the treaty, Abraham had to present an uncomfortable situation…the fact that Abimelech’s servants had taken a well by force from Abraham’s servants.
What could Abraham have done?
Fight: In this scenario, he would have stood up for his rights and defended the fact that the well was his. This could have led to a lack of peace between both parties that could have destroyed their treaty.
Flight: In this scenario, he simply would have given in, thus ending up with nothing. The end result would have been the reality that Abimelech’s servants would have felt free to take by force any future well that Abraham would have dug, knowing there wouldn’t be consequences.
What did Abraham actually do?
Read this part of the story, found in Genesis 21:27-30.
27 Abraham then gave some of his sheep, goats, and cattle to Abimelech, and they made a treaty. 28 But Abraham also took seven additional female lambs and set them off by themselves. 29 Abimelech asked, “Why have you set these seven apart from the others?” 30 Abraham replied, “Please accept these seven lambs to show your agreement that I dug this well.”
Abraham secured peace by exercising a “win-win” option.
This option had elements of both “fight” and “flight” involved. While Abraham stood up for his rights to the well (fight), he secured the agreement through generosity (flight). He gave in order to get.
In this scenario, both parties got something out of the deal. Abimelech got seven producing (female) lambs and Abraham got his well.
What was the end result of this peace? Verse 34 says this, “And Abraham lived as a foreigner in Philistine country for a long time.”
His peacemaking secured a place for him to live for a long time.
If you live as a peacemaker wherever you go, the blessings that follow will be undeniable. This is who God has called us to be. Ultimately, when people see how we bring peace to every situation, they will recognize the fact that we truly belong to God (Matthew 5:9).
What a great testimony. Let’s live it today!
*And yes, the above photo is the extent of my amazing artistic ability.