“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:16-18)
Living in harmony with others is a tall order. We are all inclined toward self-interest and self-preservation. As loving and kind as we think we are, often our preferences and inevitable misunderstandings can impact even the closest of relationships. God forbids revenge, but our human nature finds ways to justify spiteful behavior that creates tension at best, and outright separation at worst.
However, even when we have the best intentions and express those intentions with the love of God, we can still be misunderstood and find ourselves having to tread lightly around the sensitive feelings of others.
In verse 18 we see that we can’t always “create” peace. I love Paul’s words because I am not in control of how others respond to me.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is universally known for her beautiful poetry. She is the one who wrote, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” What is not commonly known is that her parents so disapproved of her marriage to Poet Robert Browning that they completely disowned her. In response, she wrote a letter almost weekly expressing her longing to reconcile. They never once replied. After ten years of letter writing, Elizabeth received a huge box in the mail. She opened it. To her dismay and heartbreak, the box contained all her letters to her parents. Not one of them had ever been opened!
Had her parents opened and read only a few of them, a reconciliation might have been achieved.
LIVING OUT GOD’S BEST TODAY
Application of God’s Truth
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” To be like Jesus, you have to seek peace where you can and be willing to suffer to achieve reconciliation. Determine with God’s help to make peace wherever you go.