Most of us desire a life of peace and tranquility. Yet, as we diligently work to pursue that goal, we will encounter a few “interrupters” who are quick to find fault, take issue, push back, stir the pot, and ruffle feathers. When our paths cross, tension mounts as our patience is tried and our plans for peace are tested.
I think it’s safe to say that Isaac encountered a good number of “interrupters” at Gerar. In their envy, they not only made life unbearable by filling his wells with dirt, but the king actually ordered him to leave the country, too. Under these challenging circumstances, Isaac moved his family, his flocks, and all his belongings to a new location to provide for their needs.
You would think that would have put an end to the conflict, but Isaac’s troubles had just begun: “Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, ‘“The water is ours!”’ So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, ‘“Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land,”’ (Genesis 26:19-22, NIV).
When someone interrupts our peace, often our first impulse is to respond in kind. Yet, when Isaac encountered such adversity, he didn’t demand his rights. He laid them down. Although this came at a great personal price, God honored his quiet perseverance. In the end, Abimilech (king of Gerar) recognized the blessings of God on Isaac, and together they forged an agreement to live at peace with one another (Genesis 26:26-31).
When difficult people interrupt the peace in our lives, we have a choice to make. While some grievances simply cannot be overlooked and elicit a need for an honest, loving response, there are other times when the better option is to look past an offense, take the hit, absorb the loss, and choose to move past the injury.
While it’s not always easy to discern which offenses merit justice and which ones call for mercy, as we seek the Father’s heart and then examine our own, He can empower us to make the kind of choices that are a clear testimony of His goodness and grace at work in our lives. Dealing with difficult people? Peace is possible. Walk the path.
Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries
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