For the past two days this Bible verse has been stuck in my brain:
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
Um, does He really mean everyone? And what exactly am I to infer from the phrase, “as far as it depends on me….” I mean, come on, there are times when I’m able to easily justify my contentious attitude and actions…..at least I can, in my own mind. Also this “if possible…” is causing some discomfort as well. I mean, nearly everything is possible, right? At least that’s what we tell our kids…. So what’s the Holy Spirit trying to teach me here?
I once had someone tell me that I was the sweetest person they’ve ever known. I was flattered, and then I laughed out loud because I know who I am deep down inside; and sweet isn’t how I’d describe me most of the time. Cordial. Polite. Thoughtful. Trusting. Shy and quiet come to mind; but not sweet. When I think of someone who’s ‘sweet’ I think of a person who is always thinking of other people’s needs before their own, and then acting on that in order to make other people’s lives better. A sweet person is someone who always has a kind word to say, who is always supportive, who is always loving and gentle in speaking and manner. A sweet person is someone who always seems to focus on the positive in a person and completely misses those negative actions, attitudes, and behaviors. A sweetie is someone who is able to “live at peace with everyone,” all of the time. So far, I don’t really see any of those qualities in myself – at least not consistently.
As I sit here and really think about this verse, it makes me want to be a sweetie though. I feel compelled to think first and react second, not the other way around. I want to focus on the best in people and not those nasty little nigging personality flaws that we all have. I want to make every effort to be warm and welcoming and approachable. I mean, after all, if people can’t feel comfortable talking to me, how am I ever going to be able to share the love of Christ with them? I want to be a do-er of the word and not just a hearer – I might be the only Jesus some people see, and he definitely knew how to live in peace with others.
This seems like a simple little verse at first glance, but as I’ve chewed it over in my mind for the past two days I realize there’s a whole lotta meat in there. So here’s how I’m going to be applying it to my life:
“If it is possible”
“As far as it depends on you”
***** Pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you! (1 Corinthians 9:22)
“Live at peace with everyone”
What about you? Will you make every effort possible in order to live in peace with those around you…even those who just don’t seem overly peaceable?