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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Giving Up My Pride To Restore Relationships

In review of Romans 12:18 it says, “Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody” (GNT).

Bottom Line:
Do what’s needed to live in peace with others.

What this means to me:
I must do whatever it takes for me to live in peace with those around me.

In Romans 12 Paul gives guidelines for living as a redeemed person in a fallen world. He tells me that I am to give myself to Christ as living sacrifice, obey the leadership / government, love my neighbors, and take special care of those who are week in the faith.

Paul pleads with me to give my body and my life to God because of all God has done for me. I am to use my life as a living and holy sacrifice, the kind he would find acceptable. Also, I shouldn’t just copy and follow along with the behavior and customs of this world, but instead let God transform me into a new person by changing the way I think. Then I will will learn to know God's will, which is good and pleasing and perfect. I shouldn't think I am better than I really am. I need to be honest in my evaluation of myself, measuring myself by the faith God has given me. I make up part of Christ's body and as such I need to participate along with others. God has given me gifts to use for the Kingdom and I need to use them to serve. Also, I shouldn't pretend to love, but really love others. I should avoid laziness, and work hard serving the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in my confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and to keep on praying. When I see those in need, I should be ready to help and eager to practice hospitality. Treat others well and do all I can to live in peace with everyone.

If I love someone the way Christ loves me, I will be willing to forgive them. I have experienced God's grace, and as such I will want to pass it on to others. I recognize and forgive, and love them in spite of their sins, because Christ forgave me.

So if I am to do everything possible to live at peace with others I need to restore relationships that may have gone awry. A big part of that is to cooperate as much as possible.

Paul tells me to, “Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody” (Romans 12:18 GNT). Peace always has a price tag. Often it will cost me my pride; it will cost my/ self-centeredness.

For the sake of fellowship, I need to do my best to compromise, adjust to others, and show preference to what they need. A paraphrase of Jesus’ seventh beatitude says, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are and your place in God’s family” (Matthew 5:9 The Message).

What I’m learning is that peacemaking is not avoiding conflict. Running from a problem, pretending it doesn’t exist, or being afraid to talk about it is actually cowardice. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was never afraid of conflict.

Peacemaking is also not appeasement. Always giving in, acting like a doormat, or allowing others to always run over me is not what Jesus had in mind. He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition.

Peacemaking means cooperating so that I can restore a relationship and honor the other person.

As I reflect on this I do find myself from time to time avoiding, running from, ignoring, or being afraid to not talk about a conflict. It’s easier not to deal with it, then confront it. When these situations, I pray that the Holy Spirit will remind me of what I’m doing, then give me the strength to deal with it.