Watching beauty pageants with my grandmother as a little girl is one of my fondest memories.
It was an absolute must- when a beauty pageant was to be televised; whether it was Miss America, Miss Universe- you name it- you could bet money we would be glued to the television set. Nothing would stand in the way of us watching and commenting on our favorites!
The glitz, glimmer and beauty were all enticing but, it was the interviews that I thought most entertaining. Oftentimes, we would joke about their answers-- how all they cared about was “world peace.” You could count on at least one contestent providing this answer.
I guess that’s one reason why I love the movie Miss Congeniality - FBI Agent, Gracie Hart is forced to participate in a beauty pagent or should I say “scholarship program” as part of an undercover operation. The question and answer portion in this movie is classic!
It seems the right answer or what we should be striving for is PEACE.
True world peace might be an elusive dream but, peace in our lives is important and something I’m not sure we are mindful of on a daily basis.
I recently read an article about peace discussing the concept of “breakers, fakers and makers.” The article focused on three categories of “peace personalities.”
The first are the peace “breakers,” these folks have very rigid beliefs, they are always correct and they feel justified in doing whatever is necessary to force others to accept their position. They don’t deliberately try to hurt others but, their insensitivity, careless words, actions and attitudes cause turmoil and discord in their interactions with others. Unfortunately, they typically find themselves in the center of ever-present drama.
The second group, are the peace “fakers.” They dislike conflict and prefer to avoid turmoil or the hint of controversy. They will even deny a conflict exists and in some instances go to extreme lengths to avoid the situation or people altogether. Their mantra is “can’t we all just get along?” The ostrich in the sand, with the hopes that eventually the bad will just go away or work itself out.
The last group of people, are the peace “makers.” God takes special delight in this category, because they have a deep concern for relationship, they understand that many offenses and differences should be overlooked and forgiven, they are willing to accept others and put the others’ interests above their own. Most importantly, peace “makers” are willing to candidly and lovingly address conflict head on. They are not afraid to speak truth even when it is difficult and not popular. Their actions may include confession, forgiveness, and honesty, loving confrontation, respectful debate, empathy and thoughtful negotiation. They are willing to step in and do the hard work that is necessary to bring about peaceful reconciliation.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons (and daughters) of God.” - Matthew 5:9
The Bible highlights one such peacemaker, Abigail – a true woman of peace.
In the Book of 1 Samuel 25, we find the story of Abigail, the wife of a very wealthy man named Nabal, who is described as “surly and mean in his dealings.” No doubt, Abigail had to intervene often to smooth over situations that her husband may have caused due to his rude temperament.
Abigail clearly had well-honed diplomacy skills and put them to good use when she discovered that her husband had snubbed (soon to be King) David and his men when he refused their request for provisions. A foolish refusal that came AFTER David and his men had provided an armed escort for Nabal’s flocks!
Needless to say, David’s response wasn’t very forgiving as he swore to kill every male associated with Nabal’s household.
When Abigail learned of her husband’s reckless decision she boldly took action. Abigail loaded up donkeys with ample provisions and set out to intercept David and his four hundred men.
Abigail met David on the road and offered him gifts of wine, grain, prepared meat, and cakes of figs. She fell down before him and pleaded for him to show mercy to her husband and his household.
At great risk to herself, she approaches David, an angry, dangerous man bent on revenge, and intercedes for her husband. She apologizes on behalf of her husband and wisely encourages David to forgive rather than take revenge, so that David would “not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself (verse 31).
She bravely confronted a man that could have easily killed her on the spot and appealed to his better judgment. Her wisdom, diplomacy and actions led to an unexpected peaceful resolution when David turned from his vengeance and extended a blessing instead.
Abigail peacefully navigated the difficult people and situations in her life with diplomacy, poise, truth, courage, wisdom and levelheadedness.
Peace isn’t a certainty; rather a refined pièce de résistance.
So, what does your corner of the world look like? Is it filled with peace or turmoil?
Are you a breaker, faker or maker?
Father, please give us a heart that seeks to make peace. Help us Lord to deal with the difficult people and situations in our world in a manner that is positive and courage to take the challenging steps to bring about reconciliation and healing. May we be able to discern situations that need attention and have the wisdom and courage to act in a way that we truly can be called blessed because we are authentic peacemakers!
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.- James 3:17-18 (ESV)