I have always been intrigued by the story of Abigail found in I Samuel 25. She is the wife of a wealthy landowner named Nabal. David and his men asked Nabal for some food and Nabal refuses their request. David felt this was an injustice since David and his men were something of a protection ring around Nabal’s sheep shearers and the field workers. David was planning an act of retaliation when Abigail gets word of it and intercedes. She brings a large gift of food to David and asks that he not avenge himself. She said “My lord (David), let the blame be on me alone….please forgive your servant’s (Nabal), offense.” Abigail did no wrong to David but she was willing to put the sins of her husband on her self and intercede in order to save the lives of the entire household. David accepts her peace offering and gives up his plan to attack Nabal’s farm.
Every day we encounter places of conflict and moments of discord between people. There is a true need for the ministry of mediation. It takes a humble person to take on the sins of another and work peace from the middle. Standing in the gap between two disagreeable parties is the hardest place to be in life. It is the place where Jesus stood as he was dying on the cross, making peace between God and people. As imitators of Christ we are called to be the world’s peacemakers. Where do you see places in your work or church where you can intercede with a “winning word of love.” It will always involve personal sacrifice and courage. I believe there would be more peace in this world if Christ’s people were actively building bridges of understanding and reconciliation where there is discord.
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson