I walked into my wife's office, turned my backside to her, and said, "Could you please check and see if it's still there? I have just had it chewed out so badly that I'm really not sure; I'm afraid it may be gone."
She assured me that, yes, my posterior was, in fact, still there. A little worse for wear, perhaps, but still present and accounted for. However, for some reason she wanted an explanation for my odd question.
Long and short, peacemakers may be "blessed," but that does not mean that they are not also going to be "blessed out."
Matthew 5:9 says, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Jesus calls us to a life as a peacemaker. But the fact that there is peace that needs to be made indicates that there is "war" of some type already being made. Two or more parties are at odds and, when that is the case, anyone getting involved has the potential to end up as collateral damage.
It is always wise to avoid trouble that does not belong to you. Proverbs 26:17 says, "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." But in this particular case I ended up in the dead middle of a situation that had nothing to do with me. I was placed in a spot where I had to either accept or decline an offer; there was no other choice. To accept was to guarantee that one side would be hurt or angry, to decline was to guarantee that the other side would be hurt or angry. To make matters worse, there was no biblical guidance that rendered either choice right or wrong.
And so I prayed.
For more than 24 hours I was either on my face before the Lord or praying silently while going about my daily tasks. During that time, God seemed to give me the answer. To accept would be more beneficial to me in a great many ways, especially financially. But to accept would also slow the reconciliation process between two parties. Thus, I picked up my phone and made the call I dreaded to make. During that call I mostly listened, as I was not given much other choice. As I feared, someone was very hurt with and angry at me, and I received the "posterior chewing" I spoke of earlier.
I knew that was the likely outcome. But God's people are called to sacrifice themselves for the good of others, even when we know going into it that we will be misunderstood, maligned and cut off. If we are going to pray and ask God to give us an answer, we need to abide by that answer, no matter what the personal cost to ourselves.
I strongly suspect that I have not yet finished paying the price. But I know beyond a doubt that I obeyed the Lord. And one day when I stand before him, I will surely be glad that I did not give any thought to the bottom line of the checkbook, but only to the real bottom line: Did I submit myself to the will of God?
I am praying for two parties that I hope to one day see reconciled. I believe I have done my best to be the peacemaker Jesus spoke of, though I know for certain that at least 50 percent of the equation does not believe that for even a minute. One day he will. In the meantime, I am not left comfortless. I still have my liniment and am applying it to my other "bottom line" on an hourly basis.
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., and the author of several books, which are available at wordofhismouth.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.