“Do all you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18, NLT)
Easier said than done. Especially when nothing you do or say is acceptable. Especially when the other person wants nothing to do with you. Especially when your moral compasses are pointing in different directions.
Many people live this out by acting like nothing is wrong. Fake pleasantries. Small talk. Avoid any words of depth. Tolerate. I get being civil, cordial and amicable, but even those can be taken to the extreme and used as avoidance techniques.
When others are not peaceable, I retreat. I keep outwardly silent and avoid interaction. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure retreating isn’t living out the scripture any more than is pretending everything’s okay.
And sometimes, I’m the one not being peaceable. I’m the one making things difficult.
Do All You Can
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18, NIV)
Those beginning words are key. After all, sometimes we do all we can, and a relationship still falls apart, and people still don’t get along.
Because it’s not always possible, and it doesn’t just depend on you.
Live at Peace
Scripture has a lot to say about living at peace, though. And when it comes to doing your part, it tells us that it’s not always an easy road to take.
“Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” (Psalm 34:14)
“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
See the commonality in all of these Scripture? Living at peace involves work. It takes effort.
What might this effort look like?
- Don’t get even.
- Let emotions fade.
- Don’t start an argument.
- Don’t provoke.
- Don’t prolong a controversy.
- Don’t push buttons.
- Keep quiet.
Doing all you can looks very different from one relationship to the next. Plus, there are many other ways to work at living in peace with everyone not mentioned here. Too many to list.
So, let’s end with Paul’s words of advice and encouragement to help us in this endeavor to do our part in living at peace with everyone.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourself united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)