“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 1 Samuel 25:23-24
Who are the peacemakers in your life?
I think my favorite peacemaker in the Bible is Abigail (I Samuel 25). Married to an arrogant, belligerent and wealthy man, she had to play the role of a peacemaker in order to keep King David and his small army from destroying her family. She saw a disastrous conflict coming and she got involved. She “handled” communication in such a way as to avert a very painful scenario for her family and probably for others as well.
That is what peacemakers do. They see danger coming where there has been a breakdown in communication and they involve themselves in the communication efforts. They become “interpreters”, helping each party hear the real concern on the other party’s part. They become “press secretaries”, helping each party learn a better, more productive way to say what they are feeling. They become “scribes”, making sure that only the right words get etched in stone for posterity’s sake. And in some cases, they become “advocates”, giving voice to a party who’s voice is otherwise not going to be heard.
Peacemakers understand one thing about relationships: they rise and fall based completely upon perceptions. Your response to me (i.e., your half of our relationship) will necessarily be based on your perception of me or of something I have said or done. Knowing this, peacemakers help control that perception by controlling the communication. They get involved in that process in order to ensure that genuine communication is really happening (as opposed to speculation or wrong conclusions).
Peacemakers insist that there be communication when there otherwise would not be. They stop the gossiper and insist that he/she talk directly TO the person rather than ABOUT the person. They push me to talk to you about my feelings when I might rather stew and steam a while longer. They let you know that I am stewing and implore you to come to me and listen.
Peacemakers intercede between you and me in order to help me understand your pain and to help you understand my pain. They have an ability to take my deepest concern and express it to you in words you will understand, and vice versa. They step between us, just temporarily, in order to get us past this communications glitch.
A peacemaker sees someone trying desperately to communicate something important to another person who clearly is not understanding, and the peacemaker is compelled to step in and help the communication happen. It is how they are wired. They cannot help it.
Peacemakers have, over time, naturally developed a knack for delivering difficult messages, hard or painful truths…so much so, that their friends and family often ask them to handle difficult communications for them. This particular skill, perhaps as much as any other, sometimes pushes them into leadership positions. Because saying the hard things is something leaders do. For genuine peacemakers, “speaking the truth in love” is more than just an admonishment, it has become an art form. And they are artists.
So, who do you know like this? Who are the peacemakers in your life? More importantly, in whose life do you play this role?