BENT TOWARD ONE OR THE OTHER
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18
“If possible, live peaceably.” That means that sometimes it’s not possible. Other times though, it is and I should seek it.
I grew up in a church environment, and in a family, where peace at any price was practiced. All conflict was seen as bad. It created such discomfort that I watched my parents do whatever they needed to do to quickly recover harmony. They did this at the expense of themselves, their loved ones, and of truth.
Tragedy exists when I want peace more than I want truth! This has absolutely nothing to do with Paul’s words today. The behavior of people around me may negate peace and, in fact, make peace impossible because they don’t follow Christ. Truth cannot be sacrificed for peace. James 3:17 “The wisdom that comes from peace is first of all pure, then peace loving.” Truth always comes first and must precede harmony. If I love Jesus, then I love everything He loves; honesty, justice, truth, and this may make peace unattainable. I live in a wicked world where evil exists and I should resist it at all costs.
The flip side however, is that I may be an angry person who loves to pick a fight. I have an argumentative spirit and love to play devil’s advocate. This is not a fight for truth but a need to be right. My standards and expectations of others are out of line and I can insist on things that aren’t realistic or holy. Prov. 10:12 “Hatred stirs up dissension but love covers all wrongs.” Prov. 12:16 “A fool shows his annoyance at one, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” If I love a good fight (which I don’t), then those around me might enjoy the art of sparring. “Prov. 17:14 “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
I am praying for you as you read this. If you are in a needed fight for holiness, then I pray that you won’t listen to the enemy when he tells you that you are just a quarrelsome person. How Satan would love to have us twist these two pictures. For each of you who are quarrelsome, he’d love for you to believe that your crusade is a holy one.
For each of us who must sacrifice harmony for something Jesus would fight for, may God give us courage, stamina, and boldness with our tongue. For each of us who alienate others, either with a need to nit-pick or be right, may we lay down our arms and pray for humility and a peaceable spirit. Only God’s Spirit can show us which one we are!
I’m bent toward being peaceable at all costs. You are making me bold but I have a long way to go. I give you my tongue today as You give me your passion for truth. Amen