Peace Is A Choice
"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18 It's not always possible, because not all want to live peaceably with us. But we are counselled to do everything we can to be at peace, regardless. Many times this will require us to allow the other person to be wrong and not argue with them. Preserve their dignity. Human nature wants to assert what we know to be right, but wisdom speaks louder and oftentimes tells us to be quiet. It can diffuse many a volatile situation. And if we do it with a smile, it can totally disarm our adversary. However, if someone insists on not being at peace with you and lashes out, always remember, "WWJD" - what would Jesus do? He gave us many examples of this. Sometimes he simply walked away. But what if you can't even do that? What if you can't walk away? Then we are called to turn the situation over to the Lord and submit it to him, letting it go into his capable hands. He tells us in a situation like that that we are to refuse to fight back, refuse to take vengeance. Yes, we will feel the stings of anger and hurt feelings, and he says not to try to squelch that. No, bring it to Him. Give place to it BEFORE THE LORD. Tell him all about it. Express your frustration and anger and bitterness to him. He'll listen, he's the lover of your soul. But then ...let it go. You've given place to it, you've expressed it, now let it go. Don't go over it again and again and again, don't dwell on it, let it go. If you do it HIS way, he will take care of it, never doubt that. Your job is to stay in his peace. vs 19: "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.'" Friends, it's not easy and the Lord never said it would be. But we are channels of his love if we will allow ourselves to be that. And you just never know what love can accomplish. It can so disarm your enemy that the Lord can then bring him to repentance. So always take the high ground, for you never know what the Lord is up to behind the scenes. vs 20: "Therefore, 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.'" If we strive to remain in the love of God and do all we can to live peaceably with all, our hearts will remain free. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like walking in the peace of God and knowing the awareness of his presence continually. Anyone who has known it would never even think to go back to walking in hateful feelings, oh how repulsive is even the thought. Let us therefore keep an eye always on the possibility of seeing things turn for the good even in the lives of our adversaries. And there's only one way to get there: vs 21: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
This is admittedly very, very hard to do. That's where prayer comes in. Ask God for the GRACE of handling things correctly before him, especially when our feelings are hurt. ASK. Don't try to force it, that won't work. Instead, ASK.