When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men… Genesis 14:14 ESV
Abram surprises us when he takes up arms to fight. He has always been a peacemaker. No one who read his story in the preceding chapters would have any idea that he had a small, trained army within his own household. Now, they are revealed and are released to go fight the enemies who have taken his nephew, Lot, captive. Though Abram’s men are greatly outnumbered, they are fierce warriors with God on their side. They will defeat the captors and free Lot. This will not be the first or last time we will see God astound us.
It’s always a shock when a peacemaker is willing to fight. It’s equally shocking when a fighter lays down his sword and pulls a chair up to the table to seek peace. Both have earned a reputation for responding to life in their own preferred way.
Each of us is bent, because of our personality, more toward one than the other. Gentle spirits love peace and hate conflict. Feisty spirits love a good fight and see those who seek peace as being weak. We build a track record for only responding one way and those around us count on us to react as we have always done. I am a peacemaker, by nature, and not easily inflamed. It takes a lot to anger me and while that can appear admirable, I will tell you that it can be a fault. A friend once told me, after hearing a few stories about a time when I had been badly harassed by someone, that I was patient to a fault. She was right.
A balanced child of God, one who is like Jesus, does not act solely out of his personality type. He listens to Jesus and follows Him even when he is asked to do something he finds more difficult. A fighter needs to learn to be still. A peacemaker needs to learn how to fight. There is a time to take the hill and there is a time to show restraint.
Many of us can live our lives thinking that the bents of our personality are the best traits. May we meet in the middle? Both are needed and both, acting under the direction of the Spirit, play pivotal roles in the purposes of God.
Teach me when to fight and not retreat. Give me the boldness to step outside of my peacemaker box. Amen