“If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
These words from Paul, an apostle and preacher of Jesus, in Romans 12:18 amaze me. Not only are Paul’s words wise and important, but they also demonstrate how far we as the Church have fallen from actually living at peace with one another.
It seems that everywhere we turn – especially since 2020! – there is increasingly more infighting, more drama on social media, more name-calling, more squabbles, more rash and harsh judgments, and much, much less peace.
The problem with this – beyond the obvious sin! – is we have abandoned our role as the representatives of Christ, the Prince of Peace, to a hurting and sin-stained world. (Isaiah 9:6) They need us, the Gospel we share, the hope and love we can offer.
Sisters, we are letting them down.
It can be easy to know what our behavior as believers should not look like, but challenging to grasp what it should look like. How can we practically live out the “one another” verses in the New Testament as we do life together.
At Gracefully Truthful, we believe holy transformation happens when we surrender to the Holy Spirit’s ways as we are cut by the living Word of God when we read it. The brokenness, hurt, betrayal, pain, and utter lostness happening around us every single day calls for a radical battle plan to usher in healing and hope.
Thankfully, we have God’s Word to lead the way!
Christ Himself provides our perfect example of real, practical actions and words teaching us how to love one another (meaning fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus), so the world around us can see Jesus and find the Hope He pleadingly holds out!
“Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are My disciples,
if you love one another.”
-Jesus (John 13:35)
Paul’s words in Romans 12:18 point to the emphasis Christ places on unity in His body, which is a fruit of living at peace with one another. Christ desires His people to be at peace with one another within His family.
In fact, in Mark 9:50, Jesus goes so far as to say that if we are not at peace with one another, we have lost our saltiness. In other words, we have lost our ability to positively impact the world for good by bringing light and goodness, truth and beauty, and the good news of the Gospel and the hope of the resurrection, to a lost, dying, hurting world. Jesus’ words are sobering and convicting.
Scripture tells us to stop biting and devouring one another with our words and behavior (Galatians 5:15) and Jesus compares angry outbursts with murder (Matthew 5:21-22). Engaging in negative, hurtful behavior renders us incapable of heeding Paul’s admonition to live at peace as far as it depends on us.
Honestly, the command to be at peace with others is challenging to obey…
when we are bent on conforming others to our preferences and opinions.
when we want justice to be applied to others, but not to us.
when we are more concerned with garnering praise for ourselves than extending encouragement to others.
We can combat these self-loving desires and fulfill Christ’s call to be peacemakers, both as individuals and as the larger Body of Christ, by aligning ourselves with His teachings.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
This must be our first, most foundational step. Pray for a humble, teachable spirit, and a heart of love for the other person. Pray for opportunities to sew peace. Pray for a desire to be the peacemaker you have been called to be.
Build unity around doctrines of first importance.
“You are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching.” (Titus 2:1)
If being peacemakers in the Body is about cultivating unity, then we can begin to cultivate peace by standing in solidarity with fellow believers on doctrines of first importance. It doesn’t matter if I am a Baptist and you are a Presbyterian; if we both believe salvation is found by grace through faith in Christ alone, we ought to enjoy unity and peace regardless of differing views on non-essential doctrines.
Ask questions, don’t make statements.
“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (James 1:19)
This wisdom should be our motto as believers; then, peace (and therefore, unity!) will flourish. We should neither assume another’s thought process and motivations nor assume the worst about another because she differs from us on certain points. Instead, let’s ask questions, seeking to understand before trying to be understood. This goes a long way toward building peace and unity!
In this day and age, pursuing peace can feel so hard, but rest assured, dear sister, that with the Lord’s help and the Spirit’s guidance, it is possible!
May it be said of us that we sought to be peacemakers
in the times we were given.
And may we spur one another on to faith, love, and good works!
Another Day 2
Living at peace will show the world what is possible. When they see our lives, it will draw them to God. This is God’s ultimate goal, bringing peace between God and man. (1 Timothy 2:1-6) We can introduce people to Jesus, the true Mediator and Peacemaker, through our peaceful lives.
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