“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” vs. 18
Paul is enough of a realist to advise the Romans that it might not be possible to live peaceably with all. His words are not a surprise to most of us. We’ve been around long enough to know that some folks aren’t interested in reciprocal acts of kindness. For one reason or another they rebuff our attempts at making peace in favor of continuing acts of hostility. It’s particularly difficult when such persons are a part of our own households. Many times we’re tempted to just give up! “To hell with them,” we think to ourselves. “I don’t need this kind of aggravation in my life.” But Paul wouldn’t agree! From his perspective, followers of Jesus can never allow the words and actions of another person to dictate our own behaviors. There’s a certain consistency expected of us. We may not be able to control or manipulate another person, but we can, under most circumstances, control how we behave in their presence. When we’re on top of our game we are able to live peacefully and cordially with anyone, if we will to do it! It will mean putting a damper on our nasty sides and curbing our tongues when provoked. It’s a lifestyle that doesn’t come easily to us, but what a blessing it is when we’re able to return a frown or insult with a smile and a kind word. Sometimes relationships are actually healed!
Thought for the Day: When does my nasty side come out?