Relationships are one of life’s greatest sources of joy. Yet they can also lead to some of our biggest trials. Let’s face it—we won’t be able to get along with everyone, because we live in an imperfect world. Every human being has been affected by the fall and enters this life as a sinner. Furthermore, the fact that we are Christians is itself a source of conflict: Jesus tells us the world will hate us because we are His (John 15:18-20).
Despite all these obstacles, we are to try to be at peace with all men. This means we should seek to resolve conflicts and do what we can to live in harmony. Scripture gives us the following guidelines:
- Never pay back evil for evil or take your own revenge (Rom. 12:17, Rom. 12:19).
• Overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).
• Love and pray for your enemies (Luke 6:27-28).
• Practice frequent forgiveness (Matt. 18:21-22).
These principles all run counter to human nature; therefore, the only way to successfully apply them is through the power and grace of Jesus Christ. Yet despite our best efforts, peace is not always possible. When our overtures are repeatedly rejected, ending the quest may be appropriate. Or if harmony is possible only by violating Scripture, we must refuse to compromise.
God is the only one who can change the heart of someone who refuses to be reconciled. Our responsibility is to faithfully represent Christ to that person with our words, attitudes, and behavior. The Lord’s job is to produce the fruit.
Bible in One Year: Psalm 29-34