How to Live in Peace with all Men
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18
Growing up, my mama always said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” We’ve all been there. Someone out of the blue may have said something mean towards us, or offended us somehow, and we’ve just wanted to get that person back. Maybe we’ve wanted to tell them like it is. Because let’s be honest: it is so easy to react that way.
We hear all the time that hurt people hurt people. And it’s true. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional. Sometimes we want others to feel the same way that they made us feel. But Jesus didn’t teach this.
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39)
This is a good scripture for an attitude adjustment, but our flesh hates it because it’s opposite of how we really want to react. There’s a song that came out recently as a joke, and the lyrics go “Try Jesus, don’t try me, because I throw hands/ I fight.”
As much as our flesh wants to fight back and be petty and passive aggressive at times, we have to remember that it’s not Godly to react that way. It’s my duty as a Christian to turn the other cheek so that I’m not a stumbling block to others.
It does not mean that we should not stand up for ourselves. It means that we need to recognize that sometimes, people are going to say mean things or act in a way towards us that we don’t like. Sometimes we are going to get downright offended.
But is it our job to react in a way that is petty or offensive right back to them? No. Be like Jesus.
In the same chapter, Romans twelve, it says “Recompense to no man evil for evil.” Recompense here means to give back to. That’s not our job. That’s God’s job. “Vengeance is mine. I will repay saith the Lord.”
We have to recognize that people are dealing with their own issues on the inside. The Word says “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If someone is being ugly towards you, it’s a sign that they’re hurting on the inside.
As hard as it is to lash out at someone, we need to be patient with them, have compassion for them, and show them love. Christ did not call us to be divas, or as some nowadays would consider “Karens.”
So how do we live peaceably with all men?
First, we must admit our own faults. None of us are perfect. If we did something wrong, we need to acknowledge it. We need to apologize.
Second, we need to be quick to forgive. Wouldn’t we want the same in return? Again, be like Jesus. Don’t hold on to an offense because it will just end up hurting you more in the end.
Next, we should learn to empathize with others. People are struggling inside every single day. Their behavior brings that to the surface. Empathy is not feeling sorry for someone; that’s sympathy. Empathy is actually placing yourself in their shoes and trying to understand what it’s like for them.
Lastly, we should always pray for our enemies. It is probably one of the most humbling things when you learn to pray for someone that gets under your skin. But it helps you to have grace for them in the future.
Our enemy is not each other. We share a common enemy who is after our soul. It’s important that we stay unified in the body for Christ. Our culture today teaches an insult for insult or offense for offense mentality. They say that everything said to us warrants a negative reaction. I just do not think that is true. If we hold on to these principles in God’s word, I believe that we can learn to live peaceably with all men.
Kiana Gilchrist is from Anderson, South Carolina at attends Sanctuary of Praise. She has been writing since she could form words together. Writing has been a way to collect her thoughts and escape from the troubles of life. She enjoys writing articles and essays on various topics. She currently has a blog where she shares articles about whatever comes to her heart, and about my experience in the Mission field. She is in the process of publishing a book of poetry.
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