"If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" Romans 12:18
We have all experienced the reality of dealing with difficult people. Sometimes, some people just refuse to be a friend. It is not easy, it is not fun, but it is life. It happens.
What is our role in such a situation? If someone refuses to treat you with respect and simply will not be friendly toward you, are you now free to react towards them any way you feel? The Bible gives us a simple statement that provides much-needed clarity on this matter: "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" Romans 12:18.
Sometimes a peaceful relationship is simply not possible. If someone refuses to be your friend -- or, at least to act friendly towards you -- there may not be anything you can do. The verse reminds us, though, we are to seek peace if it is possible.
"...so far as it depends on you..."
This reminds us that we are only responsible for our part in the situation. We must see to it that we do not make the situation worse and we do not use their poor behavior as a license to return their malice. The question that must be on our mind is this: what can I do to help the situation? Can you solve it? Maybe, maybe not. Yet, what you can do is to make sure that as much as depends on you, you seek peace?
Our goal in every relationship is to live in peace. In order to make peace or keep the peace, our words, thoughts, and actions must promote peace. The goal is to live in peace with the people in our life. This includes our family, co-workers, friends, church members, neighbors, and others we know. The world may be comfortable pushing people away and returning evil with evil, but the Christian is not. The follower of Jesus Christ does not seek revenge...he seeks peace.
No exceptions are given. We are to strive to live in peace with all people. The command here is not to only seek peace with people who are just like us or with those that we have a natural connection to. This command extends to the person who seems to always know how to get under your skin. The verse is speaking about the person who loves to push your buttons and includes those who ignore you. The text comes without any exceptions. Our relationships, as much as depends on us, if it is possible, should be peaceful.
This week, look for ways to seek peace with the people in your life. Initiate a conversation. Seek to understand. Pursue restoration. Offer forgiveness. Ask forgiveness. As much as depends you, seek to live in peace.
Will your effort be well-received? Will the other person choose to live in peace with you? We do not know. What we can be sure of is that when we live as this verse tells us to do, God is pleased and Christ is magnified. And for the Christian, those two things will be enough.
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