6. Aim at humility, not humiliation.
Being found in human form, he humbled himself. (Philippians 2:8)
Think about the humility of Christ. When God was giving the law, His voice thundered impersonally from Mount Sinai. They heard His voice, but they did not see Him. But when God is making peace, He comes to us and speaks face-to-face.
When God makes peace, He does not come to us with a display of strength. He comes with His glory veiled—God speaking to people face-to-face. He comes to us in weakness, Christ crucified in weakness.
God makes peace, not through a triumph of power, but through a triumph of love. He wins us. He woos us. He draws us. His love constrains us. That is how God makes peace. And then think about this: He did this when right was all on His side and wrong was all on ours!
Peacemakers aim at humility, but never humiliation. If you’ve been drawn to Jesus, was it not His love? Was it not His grace?
When you have been wronged, ask yourself what you really want. Do I want vengeance (for the other person to squirm)? Do I want vindication (for me to be proved right)? Or do I want to make peace?
These are 3 very different things. People who want vindication or vengeance cannot make peace. If you want to see someone who has hurt you grovel in the dust, you are not ready to be a peacemaker.
Peacemakers aim at humility, but never humiliation.
7. Trust the injustice you have suffered to God.
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. (1 Peter 2:19)
Friend, it is a terrible thing to be wronged, slighted, or treated unfairly, to be passed over, taken for granted, to have evil returned for good, or to give of yourself and receive wounds in return.
Jesus knows all about that. No one has been wronged more than He has. No one has had their rights ignored and flouted more than your Savior. No one has been a peacemaker like He has.
If you have been wronged, and you want to be a peacemaker, you have the most marvelous model to follow in Jesus. Peter tells us what He did. This is a key passage for anyone who has been wronged and wants to be like Jesus.
Peter is speaking here about what to do if you want to be a peacemakers in a situation where you have suffered an injustice. You’ve been treated unfairly, and your natural response would be resentment. You’re losing your own peace. You can feel yourself getting angry. You realize that you could easily head down a path you don’t want to go.
If when you do good and suffer for it, you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. (1 Peter 2:20)
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)
What’s the example of Christ that we’re to follow when we suffer injustice as He did?
Two things Christ did not do.
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return. (1 Peter 2:23)
People spoke out against Him. They insulted Him, spat on Him, and provoked Him. But when He was reviled, He did not revile in return. Why? Because He came to make peace.
When he suffered, he did not threaten. (1 Peter 2:23)
Soldiers flogged Him and nailed Him. They inflicted unimaginable pain on Him. He is the Son of God—all judgment is in His hands. He could have said, “You wait!” But He did not do that. Why?
He came to make peace.
Two things Christ did.
He continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)
Here’s what that means for us: You say to God, “I am committing this injustice to you. You know all about it, and I trust you to deal with it.”
He continued entrusting himself to him. (1 Peter 2:23)
It’s not just the injustice. Christ trusted Himself to God. In other words, He does not seek His own vindication, because He knows that His vindication is with God.
Here’s a tremendous release: When you’ve been wronged or slighted, your vindication is with God! You can trust yourself to Him who judges justly.
It would be a very small thing for you to vindicate yourself. How much better for your vindicator to be God Himself! What does it matter if you have to wait until heaven for that? It’s only a short step away!
Another thing Christ did, for you:
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24)
He bore this injustice. He bore what had been done against Him. He absorbed the pain of it without passing it on.
Christ bore it for your sake and you can choose to bear it for his sake. He left “an example, so that you might follow in his footsteps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Notice the result: “By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24)!
Christ’s wounds brought healing for you. Your wounds, in terms of human wounds, can be healing wounds too—if you bear them, as you trust yourself to him who judges justly.
8. Pray for peace.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! (Psalm 122:6)
The Scripture urges us to pray for all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:2). If you’re committed to peace, praying for peace will be a part of your prayer life.
9. Share the gospel of peace.
As shoes for your feet… put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15)
We use the phrase “run with the Gospel,” which we took from 2 Thessalonians 3 where Paul says, “Pray that the word of the Lord may speed ahead,” move swiftly.
The Bible connects the Gospel with feet, movement, running: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news” (Romans 10:15). Here the Gospel of peace is like shoes for your feet.
Some writers think the seventh beatitude, “blessed are the peacemakers…” is entirely about making peace between men and God, and so they see it as a call to evangelism.
I don’t think we should limit peacemaking to helping people find peace with God, but we certainly can’t live out this beatitude without it. Leading a person directly to faith in Christ may just be the greatest peacemaking that you ever do.
10. Cherish peace wherever you find it.
Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… (Ephesians 4:3)
Sometimes a simple phrase can stay in your mind and do you good years after it was said.
I once met another pastor for a meal in England. It was the only time I ever met him, and we got together for a meal because we had to talk about an issue on which it was possible that we might disagree.
He offered to say grace when the meal was served, and this is what he prayed: “Lord, we were one when we met. Let nothing in this conversation make that less when we part. Amen.” It was a wonderful meal. His prayer was answered, and there was peace.