‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ Romans 12:18 NIV
Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.’ (Matthew 5:9 NKJV) Notice, God promised to bless peacemakers, not peace lovers. There’s a difference. Peacemakers pay the price; peace lovers enjoy the benefits. Sometimes you’ve got to confront people before you can comfort them. Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple because they were charging unfair exchange rates to those who bought lambs and turtle doves to offer as sacrifices to God. In most cases these were people who could least afford it, so Jesus decided to get involved. One of the names given to God is Jehovah-Shalom, ‘The Lord is our peace’ (see Judges 6:24). ‘Shalom’ doesn’t denote the absence of trouble, but the peace of God in the midst of it. When we have an issue with someone, Jesus said we should take certain steps. First, go and try to resolve it privately. If that doesn’t work, take someone with you who can help. If that fails, take it to the church leadership. And if the person still refuses to be reconciled, then love them and leave them in God’s hands (see Matthew 18:15–17). It may not be a How-to-Win-Friends-and-Influence-People approach to conflict resolution, but it’s God’s way. Paul said, ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’ For example, Paul was willing to forego eating certain foods that were offensive to others (see 1 Corinthians 8:13), but he wasn’t willing to tolerate troublemakers in the church (see Romans 16:17). So you must know when to make waves, and when to make peace.
SoulFood: Neh 1–4, Lk 21:12–24, Ps 78:17–31, Prov 23:26–28
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2023