By Annie Yorty
“Please reconsider!” I implored my friend.
Bent on divorce, she paced and shook her head.
I persisted until she settled down and talked through her reasons.
I knew firsthand the devastation her children would experience if she followed through with her plan.
I grew up in a strife-filled home with parents who constantly yelled. Argued. Walked out.
This approach to marriage made me insecure and longing for peace.
I tiptoed around, trying to avoid the fray.
I learned to marshal my thoughts, actions, and emotions so I wouldn’t provoke an outburst.There’s a difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking.
It didn’t always work so well.
This was my childlike attempt to keep the peace.
I held a misconception many entertain.
But there’s a difference between peacekeeping and peacemaking.
I tried to maintain peace in my family by pleasing everyone—this futile effort is peacekeeping.
But, a peacemaker never minimizes or overlooks the war.
She brings God’s truth to the attention of each person for resolution and reconciliation.
Abigail: The Peacemaker
God included a story in the Bible about a woman who made peace between two men on a collision course.
We find Abigail tucked within the pages of David’s rise to power from shepherd boy to king of Israel.
David knew all about strife.
When his life intersected with Abigail, he and his band of warriors were running from King Saul, his father-in-law.
For years, Saul pursued David to murder him.
David and his men often protected people they met in exchange for food and other necessities.
Abigail’s husband, Nabal, benefitted from David’s protection.
A wealthy landowner, he sent his workers to tend and shear his sheep.
They labored without fear of attack because David and his men kept watch.
Later, David sent his men to ask for food from the bounty of the shearing feast day.We can learn much about peacemaking from Abigail.
Nabal not only rejected the request for hospitality, but he also insulted David.
David’s anger flared like a match touched to dry tinder when he heard Nabal’s response (1 Sm 25:13).
He and his army stormed off in the direction of the home of Nabal, intent on revenge.
Meanwhile, a servant told Abigail what her husband had done.
Abigail sprang into action and soon found herself face to face with David and two hundred armed men.
Abigail begged for the forgiveness of David and reminded him of God’s promises.
She led as a peacemaker in the showdown between David and Nabal.
And we can learn much about peacemaking from her.
4 Strategies for Becoming a Peacemaker
1. Act swiftly to make peace.
Abigail hurried, taking 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five butchered sheep, a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she said to her male servants, “Go ahead of me. I will be right behind you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. – 1 Samuel 25:18-19 HCSB
In two verses from this story, we see words that communicate haste.
Abigail hurried to gather gifts for David. She quickly jumped off her donkey to greet him.
She did not pause to wring her hands, second-guess her actions, or make excuses.
She was eager for reconciliation.
2. Humble yourself.
When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off the donkey and fell with her face to the ground in front of David. She fell at his feet and said, “The guilt is mine, my lord, but please let your servant speak to you directly. Listen to the words of your servant.” – 1 Samuel 25:23-24 HCSB
Abigail bowed down to David and took the blame upon herself for Nabal’s lack of hospitality.
Even though she had no part in her husband’s terrible decision, she accepted responsibility.
This shift of accountability gave her the opportunity to become an agent of reconciliation.
3. Ask for forgiveness.
“Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the Lord is certain to make a lasting dynasty for my lord because he fights the Lord’s battles. Throughout your life, may evil not be found in you.” – 1 Samuel 25:28 HCSB
Abigail continued to represent her household as a leader when she asked David for forgiveness as if she personally had offended him.
Because of her trust in God, Abigail could bear the guilt without defending herself.
4. Demonstrate genuine concern for all parties.
“When the Lord does for my lord all the good He promised and appoints you ruler over Israel, there will not be remorse or a troubled conscience for my lord because of needless bloodshed or my lord’s revenge. And when the Lord does good things for my lord, may you remember me your servant.” – Samuel 25:30-31 HCSB
David planned to decimate Abigail’s household, yet she cared about his welfare.
Abigail knew and honored God’s plan to make David king of Israel.
To calm his anger and refocus him, she spoke of God’s promises.
She reminded him that an act of vengeance would shed innocent blood and stain David’s soul as well as his reputation.Abigail—a peacemaker—did not pause to wring her hands, second-guess her actions, or make excuses.
The Source of Lasting Peace
Abigail acted with intention rather than impulse when she set out to be a peacemaker between David and Nabal.
Her courageous actions stemmed from a deep trust in God.
She acted boldly, spoke boldly, and trusted God boldly to be a peacemaker.
God equips us to be peacemakers through His Son as well.
The Prince of Peace, Jesus, eliminated strife between sinful people and a holy God by taking the source of hostility—our sins—upon Himself (Rom 5:1).
Friends, salvation through Jesus enables us to follow Abigail’s example in our own lives.
As you consider Abigail’s actions to create peace, how can you rely on God to move toward becoming a peacemaker in your life?How do you rely on God to move toward becoming a peacemaker in your life?
We can apply Abigail’s peacemaking strategies in a variety of situations:
- Bickering children
- Extended family squabbles
- Backbiting coworkers
- Hostile in-laws
- Gossipy friends
- Feuding between your spouse or teenager
And if one of the warring parties is yourself, remember how God’s truth can bring peace to you, too.
David expressed gratitude to Abigail for her role as a peacemaker (1 Sam 25:32-33).
When we follow God’s lead in peacemaking, the outcome may differ from David’s response to Abigail.
But regardless of the result, peacemakers are always blessed (Mt 5:9).
– Annie Yorty
Annie Yorty, author and speaker, teaches and encourages others to discover their true needs and find sources of support and hope. She applies this calling to many interests, including disability advocacy, global missions, homeschooling, Bible teaching, and mentoring. Her book, From Ignorance to Bliss: God’s Heart Revealed Through Down Syndrome released this spring. Connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.