“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18)
Don’t you just hate to be in the middle of a conflict? Or how about living in a home
where there is strife and tension? I don’t know about you, but I desperately want to live in a tranquil environment. I admit it – when all is said and done, I’m a peacemaker! That being said, I realize I can’t always control my surroundings, but I surely have a pivotal role to play in how I relate to others when peace becomes elusive. But what happens when peace is lacking in our other family, personal and work relationships? What if it isn’t possible to keep the peace?
In the book of Romans, Paul is addressing believers in Rome concerning their Christian duty to God, to themselves, and to their fellow man. After teaching on the believer’s position in Christ, he exhorts them to live a transformed life, thus bringing glory to God. Beginning in Chapter 12, verse 1, Paul pleads with them to lay down their lives on the altar, as it were, for the sake of Christ. By giving over their own bodies as sacrifices, they would relinquish any right to their own destiny or desires. Their offering is purely voluntary, and thus, honoring to God.
The great bible commentator, Matthew Henry had this to say about the Romans passage: “Study the things that make for peace... peace without purity is the peace of the devil’s palace.”
When we endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3), we have done so without offending God and wounding our conscience. We have a dire responsibility – a holy charge if you will – to be at peace with all men, but especially in the Lord’s house. This charge conveys the urgency of nothing being left undone on our part, in order to preserve that peace. If you want to focus your worship on God, you’ll have to make peace with your fellow man. Matthew 5:23 says, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Jesus declared that when you are rightly related to God, you will do things differently from the world’s ways. He had just taught the famous sermon on the mount to the multitudes that surrounded Him on the hillside, including the beatitude; “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” Why are the peacemakers blessed? Because they are submitted to God – under His mighty hand – useful for the Kingdom. They have rightly rejected their right to their own way. They have peaceably humbled themselves unto God (James 4).
Hebrews 12:14 instructs us to, “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…” Peace and holiness go hand in hand. Proverbs 4:23 declares, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Psalm 24 says, only “he who has clean hands and a pure heart” can stand in the presence of God.
Preserving peace often entails a sacrifice on your part. Sometimes it means “biting your tongue” and swallowing unpleasant words to keep from spewing them out. We are to impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29), and season our speech with salt, knowing how to answer those who are curious about our walk with the Lord, thus encouraging dialog in a peaceful manner. Remember, we are still a “work in progress” and in the process of sanctification. Faith and patience will enable you to follow after peace and holiness. If God brings to mind something that He wants you to do to foster peace in a situation, be sure to never discard a conviction. Don’t have an obstinate attitude – realize that you will be held accountable to God for dismissing a perfectly good solution to “making peace” with your brother.
Finally, here are four (4) brief things to keep in mind with regards to living in peace…
Don’t be judgmental
Look for common ground
Pick your battles wisely
Always defer to the Holy Spirit’s leading
Remember, others are depending on you to be a peacemaker… If you are God’s child, you have all you need to be successful within God’s sovereign plan. Make it a point to do all you can to foster true peace, that God would receive all the glory!
Deborah is the author of a Christian inspirational book for women titled “Mission Possible”. Her book addresses living in a spiritually-uneven household. You can visit her website at http://www.alabasterboxpublishing.com/ for more information about her book, and visit her Blog at http://www.godmissionpossible.blogspot.com/ .