My lord should pay no attention to this worthless man Nabal, for he lives up to his name: His name is Nabal, and stupidity is all he knows (1Samuel 25:25)
Abigail sought to defuse a tense situation caused by two men whose anger is spiraling out of control. When have you found yourself in that kind of peacemaking role?
As I mentioned before, I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. I was often thrust into the role of family peacemaker in which I was responsible for everyone’s emotional well-being. At other times I was the scapegoat allowing the family focuses on my behavior rather than give attention to the real issues that need to be resolved.
One of my most vivid recollections from my childhood was my mother and father fighting and my Dad said he was leaving us and not coming back. I was all of six years old and I begged him to stay. I wrapped myself around his leg, tears streaming down my face pleading with him not to leave us.
There was another time when I was about eight years old when my father was beating up my mother and had her backed up against the wall. I was screaming for my father to stop but he didn’t and my mother fell to the floor while my father continued to beat her. I pushed my father and wound up catching one of the blows to my head in an attempt to rescue my mother.
As I grew up it was easy for me to accept blame for all that was wrong around me. It lead me down man blind paths in which I accepted behavior that I never should have accepted because I felt I didn’t deserve anything better.
When is peacemaking the hardest to do?
Most of us would prefer to have our conflicts resolved fairly without violence or animosity. We would like our differences settled at the least cost and stress to ourselves, or our families. Negotiation is good way to try to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Sometimes communications break down, differences increase and that’s when conflicts arise.
It’s important to move toward the person we are in conflict with not with fists clenched, but hands and arms opened and exposed. There will be no peace when we take short cuts and accept a quicker solution where there is a winner and there is a loser. The idea that there is always a winner and a loser is flawed thinking. Sometimes a change in approach makes a world of difference.
Once the fighting has stopped, there is much more work to be done, in order to build lasting peace. It’s not easy. When we put our wants before Gods and stop asking Him for guidance things will never be the way God wants them to be, and we’ll never be at peace.