Devotion, Nov. 28, Living Peaceably
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18 NKJV).
Paul wants us to be persons who seek to live in peace with others. Notice how he phrases this principle. “If it is possible,” suggesting that some people are so obstinate that living at peace with them is impossible. “As much as it depends on you” implies that sometimes the other fellow has to cooperate if a peaceful relationship is to be established. In other words, there are times when our efforts to live at peace with others fails. It fails because sometimes others do not want to be at peace with us. Nevertheless, we are to try to be in harmony with others. If it doesn’t work, we need to make certain that we are not the problem.
Love should govern our relationships with others. Yes, sometimes, our toes are stepped on, or we are cheated in some business deal. Our response should never be anger or revenge, but an attempt at reconciliation. If we have honestly sought to live in harmony with others and all our efforts fail, we have done our part. We just need to be sure we have done our part and have not exacerbated the problem by our own unloving words and actions.
The very next verse (Romans 12:19) reminds us that if judgment is needed on another for his wicked ways, it is not our job to supply punishment. God will take care of it. So do what you can to live at peace, and if it fails, God will render the necessary judgment. Our attempts to “get even” never work. God’s judgment is infallible. Leave that part to Him.
Father, I do want to be a person of peace. Help me to do everything possible to live in harmony with others. And if that fails because others are obstinate, help me to leave them in your hands. You loved me while I was a sinner resisting Your will. Help me to love others in that spirit. In Christ’s holy name, Amen.