If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” vs. 18Romans 12:16-21
One of the problems in a diverse community, as the Body of Christ is intended to be, is learning how to live with people who are different from ourselves. We have different ethnic and religious backgrounds, different perspectives on gender issues, different political preferences – in fact, we likely think differently about every matter under the sun. So there will be inevitable conflict undermining our communal experience. In talking about such an atmosphere Paul admonishes his readers to live peaceably with all. But seeming to think such a climate will be virtually impossible to maintain, he adds a caveat, “if it is possible, so far as it depends on you.” He believes that the individual has the responsibility to set the tone in relationships. We aren’t going to be able to control others; we can’t wait for others to wave the olive branch of peace. It’s up to us, always, without exception, to do the things that make for peace in our communities. We’re the ones who will listen carefully, and, when necessary ask for forgiveness – we won’t wait for others to take the first step. As the popular song birthed in the 50’s puts it, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” The song may have come out of Hollywood, but there’s no doubt that its roots can be found in the words of Paul. Its sentiment is the key for our most precious communal aspirations.
Thought for the Day: What keeps me from having peace in my relationships?