If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.Romans 12:18 NIV
This verse is part of a larger section that is filled with about 20 little instructions, depending on how you divide them. Each of these little sayings is just a few words long, but each of them packs a punch. I cannot read through this passage without being convicted by at least one of them.
And this one seems especially appropriate to the time we find ourselves in now. We are in the midst of a pandemic with some pretty contrary feelings and vocalizations about how to respond. We are facing a racial and social crisis that threatens to divide the nation. And we are in a presidential election cycle that becomes more vitriolic every cycle. Sometimes it seems like the only way I can live peacefully with others is to be a hermit.
Living at Peace
But living as a hermit, as appealing as that is to me, is not the answer. As believers, we are called to be a light in a world of darkness. And I cannot do that by escaping this world. I need to be engaged with the world around me. But how can I live at peace in a world that is opposed to so much of what I believe in and hold dear?
That is the challenge we face when engaging the world, and oftentimes even other believers. And Paul acknowledges that it may not be possible. I cannot control other people. But I can choose to do my best to live at peace with others.
We can do that by choosing not to be offended by what others say. And we can choose not to be confrontational about issues that have only temporal value. None of that means that we compromise our faith and beliefs. Nor does it mean that we just go along to get along. But, by living peacefully with those around us, we have a greater opportunity to share with them those things that are really important, things that have eternal consequences.