Originally Posted September 1, 2016
There are many national monuments that powerfully commemorate significant people and events in our nation’s history – the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, and Mount Rushmore, to name a few.
Yet, you and I don’t just have national landmarks. We each have personal landmarks, too. For you it may be a childhood home, or a quiet park where you’ve sat and had precious quiet times with the Lord. That special spot where you said I do, or maybe that place where you said a final goodbye…. places where friendships ended, and places where they were mended.
As we read of Jacob and Laban, we see that their relationship had been punctuated by stress for several years (Genesis 30:25-31:55). At what appears to be the height of the tension, the Lord came to Jacob and instructed him that it was time to return home. Following the Lord’s guidance, Jacob left, but without so much as a good-bye to Laban, his father-in-law. When Laban made this discovery, his anger was stirred and he pursued Jacob to confront him about what had taken place.
When Laban finally caught up to Jacob, the two men spoke openly about their issues. While they both made mistakes in handling their differences, before going their separate ways, they vowed that they would do no harm to each other. As a reminder of their covenant, Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap…. Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me today,” (Genesis 31:45-46, 48, NIV).
For Laban and Jacob, their journey to peace involved calling a truce and parting ways. If you find yourself in a similar situation, live up to your agreement. Honor it. Memorialize it. You don’t have to gather stones into a pile, but even if it is only in your heart, create your own personal remembrance of the time and the place when you resolved to live at peace with your fellow man.
As I close, I confess that there are landmarks on my path to peace that remind me of conflicts that ended well, and conflicts in which the outcome could have been, well… better. Still, with each step I take on this path, I have learned to rely on God, to realign my heart with His, and to approach others with humility and grace. Will you join me in this journey? Walk the path.
Former CEO of Peacemaker Ministries
P. Brian Noble