Reflections on Personal Conflict – Part 2

Paul tell us in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”  And truth-be-told, most people who read that verse will say, “yeah, that’s right.  I agree with that.”  But then they’ll quickly follow it up with “yeah, well Paul didn’t understand my situation.  He doesn’t know my neighbor, my spouse, my children or my boss.  If he did know them, he’d probably would have inserted a nice explanatory caveat in the footnotes of Romans 12:18?”  Well, you are right about one thing – he doesn’t know your situation.  But he doesn’t need to, nor do I.  Most of us think our situations are the exception to this command that he gives.  And put simply, most of us would be wrong.  In fact, most of us probably contribute more to an unpeaceful situation than we’re aware of or we’d like to admit to.  Most of the time I don’t think we do this intentionally; it’s just you and I have this sinful proclivity to always look to someone else as the root of our problems or a problem in general, when we need to first evaluate ourselves.

In the several chapters I read of The Peace Maker Sande speaks of the three dimensions of peace.  They are peace with God, peace within ourselves and peace with others.  Peace with God is obviously the most important peace a person can have and it is the means by which the other states of peace flow from.  To have peace with your Creator through the shed blood of Christ, will result (or should result) in peace within one’s self and with others.

What’s interesting about Paul’s word to the Christians at Rome is that he tells them “as much as it depends on you.”  In my experience, when someone takes seriously the biblical admonition and responsibility to be a peacemaker the overwhelming majority of the time peace is accomplished. 

Lastly, “peacemaking is not an optional activity for a believer.  If you have committed your life to Christ, he invites you to draw on his grace and commands you to seek peace with others.  Token efforts will not satisfy this command; God wants you to strive earnestly, diligently, and continually to maintain harmonious relationships with those around you.  Your dependence on him and obedience to this call will show the power of the gospel and enable you to enjoy the personal peace that God gives to those who faithfully follow him.” (pp. 56-57).

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