How do we live at peace in a diverse world?
If there were a survey titled, “Who is a Good Neighbour?” taken in your locality, what would your neighbours say about you?
Would they say you were a kind and generous neighbour, always willing to help out and always considerate of others? Or might they say you were the kind of neighbour that appears on those reality TV shows – the person that everyone dreads living next to?
In a world that is ever-changing and seemingly ready to point the finger and seek dissent in the difference; in a society where opinions are diverse and it’s better (particularly considering the current state of affairs) not to begin that conversation about that event that may (or may not) be happening in March, we need people who look to live at peace with others – even when we don’t necessarily agree.
However, it is impossible to achieve an atmosphere of peace without first investing in a commitment to good relationships and generous forgiveness. Today’s bible verse points us towards this way of peace.
Romans 12 v 18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone.
Jesus came to bring God’s message of his saving love, and now Paul, one of Jesus’ followers is wholly committed to bringing this good news to the world: he’s on a mission for God. Paul writes these words to teach Christians God’s way of living their lives as a response to God’s grace and love.
Paul understands that humanity is all too ready to make enemies and look for revenge; but wants these fledgling followers of Jesus to earnestly seek a better way – the way of peace.
This way of peace is not dependent upon anyone else; only we as individuals can strive to be people of peace. This can be a hard place to live when those around us are looking to ‘start a fight’ but Jesus calls us to forgive even those who hurt and wound us. It is through this forgiveness that we will be those who live at peace with our neighbours – and to God, that means everyone!
Putting it into Practice
1. Reflect for a moment on who your neighbour is. Who are those people who you find it hard to love and be at peace with? You might find it helpful to consider why it’s hard to find a place of peace with them.
2. Name those people before God and ask for him to give you wisdom in your conversations with them. As you name them, remember Jesus’ words, “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Pray for your heart to be filled with God’s peace.