Jesus encourages us in the sermon on the mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9 NIV) Not sure about you, but I want to be called a child of God more than anything in this world. So, what ways do I go about fulfilling this mission of being a peacemaker?
Bible Verses about Peacemakers
- “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” Mark 9:50 NIV
- Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18 NIV
- Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 4:19 NIV
- Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3 NIV
- Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 NIV
10 Ways to be a Peacemaker
Let’s look at some amazing Peacemakers from the Bible and see what ways we can learn from them to be a peacemaker. These are not ranked by importance or in a step by step order but chronologically from Old to New .
1. Put Others First
Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s.
So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”Genesis 13: 5-9 NIV
Abraham did not want and problems between him and his nephew Lot. He was willing to put Lot first and let him choose the land he wanted in order to keep the peace. T
The interesting thing about this is that God’s promise and covenant for the land and many descendants was with Abraham. He did not miss out on his blessing by being a peacemaker. God honors those who do right.
Philippians 2:3-4 states: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
2. Atone for Wrongs
But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept…
“If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it.Genesis 33:4, 10b-11 NIV
Jacob stole his brother, Esau’s, birthright and blessing from their dying father. Jacob had fled because Esau had wanted to kill him. Now, after many years they meet.
Jacob spend a restless night praying to God and wrestling an angel. He is ready to atone for his past sins and make things right with his brother. He presents his family as they all bow before Esau and offers him many gifts.
He realizes by seeing Esau and that there are no hard feelings, God has been gracious and forgiving as well.
3. Pray for Peace
So he said he would destroy them—Psalm 106:23 NIV
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.
Moses prayed for peace and between God and His people on more than one occasion. Because of the people’s great sin, God wanted to destroy them all and start over with Moses.
We see in Exodus 33 and then again in Numbers 16 that Moses had a heart for the people to be at peace with God. Because of his passionate pleas, God did not destroy them.
Never discount how effective your persevering in prayer can be on behalf of others. James 5:16 NIV says; “
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
4. Seek Peace Actively
Turn from evil and do good;Psalm 34:14 NIV
seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 34 was written by David. David was a man who didn’t just hope for peace but he actively pursued peace. David knew he would be king, but instead of taking the throne for his own, he pursued peace with a jealous King Saul who wanted him dead.
Twice David had a chance to kill Saul and twice he refused and instead humbled himself before the king. He made friends with Saul’s son Johnathan and respected all positions of authority.
It seems ironic to call a great warrior a peacemaker. However, David always sought to be at peace with God and others. He never sought out violence or war. Just because we seek after peace, does not mean others are doing the same. We are only responsible for seeing to our own pursuit of peace. Romans 12:18 NIV says “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
5. Make Peace with Your Enemies
But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.1 Chronicles 22:9 NIV
God promised David before Solomon was full grown that he would be a man of peace who even had peace with his enemies. That’s why he wrote, “When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.” (Proverbs 16:7 NIV)
It’s not easy to be at peace with our enemies. I’m sure that Solomon followed his father’s example of actively seeking after peace. This requires wisdom, love, forgiveness, and praying for our enemies.
6.Be a Problem Solver
When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.1 Samuel 25: 23-27 NIV
If you are unfamiliar with this story, I suggest you read 1 Samuel 25. The gist is this: David and his men had been helping the shepherds of a rich man named Nabal and at shearing time, they went to ask for food for repayment. Nabal refused and was a bit condescending in his attitude. David and his men were prepared for an attack. A servant gets wind of all of this and runs to tell Nabal’s wife Abigail.
Abigail becomes a peacemaker. She is acts quickly, trusting God for the outcome. She is brave, bold, humble, and generous. Her actions save not only her household from violence and death, but also keep David from sinning.
She solves the problem simply by providing food, offering soothing words, and being completely humble. Not all problems are so easily solved but if we trust God and act according to His word, we have the chance to act as peacemakers between others.
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.Acts 9:26-28 NIV
Paul had been a terror to the church and was a known murderer of Christians. It would make sense that many were afraid and skeptical of his conversion. Enter Barnabas. Barnabas courageously believed in all God had done in Paul’s life and saw to it that the disciples new his story and accepted him into the fold.
He did not give up on Paul or the other believers. He was willing to risk censure from either side to see that God’s people were unified. Psalms 133:1 NIV reminds us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
8. Teach Peace
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.Romans 14:17-19 NIV
The apostle Paul, in his letters to the believers, consistently encouraged them to live in peace. His teachings confirm that living in peace pleases God and edifies the body.
We have a responsibility to teach our children, young believers, and those who are watching our example how to live a life of peace and how to keep peace with others.
9. Change Your Thinking
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.Acts 10:34-36 NIV
Peter, a Jew, could not believe that the God of Israel would have him give the message of peace to a Gentile. But, here he was in a Gentile’s home, giving him the gospel and realizing that they would be brothers in Christ.
It’s hard to change our minds when we’ve been told by culture, family, or from experience about certain people groups. However, it is extremely important to remember that all people are made in the image of God. They all need salvation and we are called to love all.
We don’t have to agree with people to view them with compassion as lost souls who need a Savior. We can ask God to change our hearts and minds no matter what bit of prejudice or judgement exists.
10. Reconcile Others to God
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.Ephesians 2:14-18 NIV
Jesus is our peace! He came for the purpose to reconcile us back to God through His sacrifice on the cross. He preached this peace to those who would accept.
Because of this, we have the message of peace to give that others may be brought near to Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
Be a peacemaker of the gospel. Tell others about Jesus. Share your story and pray they will turn from their sin and to Christ.
Characteristics of a Peacemaker
So, just to summarize what we’ve studied. Here are the characteristics to strive and pray for in order to be a peacemaker:
- Servant Hearted
- Prayer Warriors