“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”- Romans 12:18
The 12th chapter of Romans may be one of my favorite chunks of the Bible. Its instruction is applicable, no matter the season of life, and its message potent.
Truth: It’s hard to live at peace with others. People are irritating, offensive, and hurtful. They don’t behave how you’d like them to behave, they say things that you don’t want to hear, and sometimes the urge to shove them out the door can overpower the desire to minister to their needs. Their words tear at your insecurities, their flaws make you want to scream, and their disapproval can cause you to crumble. In short: people can really, really suck. (Let’s forget any claims that I’m at all eloquent.)
It’s very easy to love people who are like you, or who love you. It can be really, really hard to love someone who you don’t, or can’t, understand, or who makes you feel less than.
Truth: We are called to live at peace. We have to make the effort. But, God isn’t asking for perfection from us in this regard; He doesn’t say it will be easy, and always fruitful. His servant, Paul, proclaimed that “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Whether it yields the results we’re after or not, we’re called to do all we can to life outside of the dramatic strife which the world is so accustomed to. This may mean setting aside your pride, and admitting that you can’t do it on your own. It’s a spiritual discipline, and one that can only come through the strength of the Father.
For me, living at peace is as simple as telling my husband that I’m sorry I yelled at him on when he took too long in the shower, and as complicated as finding a way to find legitimate common ground with my mother-in-law. It’s learning when to bite my tongue when my co-workers are blasphemous, and when to correct them. It’s a process of not dwelling on how hurt I am by my circumstances, and passing on the joy that comes from life in Christ.
What steps have you taken to live at peace?