“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
Isn’t strange how some verses have the power to make you stand up and cheer and still make you feel like you just took a jab to the gut.
Live peaceably with all. Like… everyone? Yes, ALL. Even those who don’t agree with me? Uh huh. What about those who I don’t get along with? Yup. Enemies? Yes, even enemies.
What if I don’t want to? Well then you’re not doing all things possible. What if they don’t want to? Have you tried? What if it’s uncomfortable and awkward? Yes sir, if it’s possible, live peaceably with EVERYONE.
There are two ways to look at that verse, from your perspective looking at someone else, or from someone else’s perspective looking at yourself.
When you want to use it on someone else it’s easy to thump them on the head with it, but it doesn’t feel very good when you’re the one getting the thumping.
When I first read it, I thought of those people in my life who don’t want to live peaceably with me. Thinking they are the ones in the wrong because they weren’t doing all things possible to make peace with me. But after I read through my Bible a couple of times I began to see many of these kinds of verses from the perspective of someone looking at me, and then from the perspective of God looking at us.
So this post isn’t so much about making peace with everyone, you already know you should. This is more of a read your Bible kinda post and read it more than once.
My story is a little odd, I was a Christian and then I fell away from the faith for a long time. When God pulled me from the deep, dark hole that I had dug for myself, my faith grew exponentially, He loved me and He turned my life around. It was only then that I realized that the Christian I thought I was, was nowhere near the Christian God wanted me to be. I’m still growing by the way, I consider myself a reborn, born again Christian, if that makes any sense.
I’ve yet to share my testimony on this blog and someday perhaps I will but for now you should know I was in a bad place. In spite of all the good things in my life, a wife that loved me, two sons that adored me, good job, nice car, great family, my state of mind had been altered by the influences of this world.
God told me in almost an audible voice as I recall, to dust off my Bible and read it. So I did, I went home that day and found it buried in my dresser drawer and started to read it.
The transformation as Paul calls it, didn’t happen overnight. But the more I read the more I wanted to read, I had a physical Bible I kept (and still do) in my car, which I read during lunch, I downloaded the Bible app on my phone and during down time at work I committed to a “Bible in one year” reading plan.
Slowly, God changed me, the way I thought about the world, people, family, work and so on. People started to notice it too, not that comments were made directly to my face, but I heard about the comments made through the grapevine, they were good comments don’t get me wrong, people were asking “what’s up with him?”
First, I read the Bible cover to cover, the second time I read it as part of a plan. The third time was more of a random selection of read this book and then read that book, do a study of this one then that one. Now I don’t read to get through the whole thing, I read so that God can reveal to me what I need to hear and what He wants to tell me.
Now I can speak up when I know for a fact that what someone is saying is incorrect, not so that I can brag about how much I know, but so that I can help them understand. I’m realizing that me knowing the Bible helps those around me know God. That’s the part that I love the most, I get to see light bulbs light up when I help someone realize for the first time what God means in that passage. I get to see those proverbial doorways in the mind open up to God for the first time. And it’s not so I can glorify myself, it’s so that I can glorify Him, it’s isn’t about what I did, it’s about what He did. I just get to witness it.
It’s undertood in Christian theology that God’s interaction with us is limited to our interaction with Him. Not that He can’t, but that He waits for us to ask. That’s where me and you come in, we pray for those around us, we ask God to reveal Himself to our friends, and then when He does we get to stand back and watch the fireworks.
Like it was for me, it’s not always an overnight change, or a flip of the switch. But He does change people and if we are patient we get to see it happening.
So, I’m asking, please pick up your Bible and start reading, get on your knees and start praying. I’ve prayed for you and I know He hears our prayers so if you’ll let Him, He will come into your life, throw out all the junk and replace it with a joy you have never known before.
As a relatively new Christian myself allow me to give just a little advice, don’t get hung up on what we Christians argue about. What I’ve realized is that the church is full of people who are just like everyone else….broken. We also argue about the strangest things, things that ultimately do not matter, and from the outside looking in you might be tempted to turn around and leave. Please don’t, we are crazy, and it’s OK to notice that, it means we have a spot just for you! All kidding aside, you are loved even if you don’t know it.
I know I’m a hypocrite, I get into debates and sometimes I’m not all that nice, it can look like I’m not doing all things possible to live peaceably but all of my interactions with those yet to believe are intended to help them.
So, with that said, put down your phones and turn off the TV. You have a Bible in your house that needs reading, and trust me it is full of epic stories that are way better than those silly TV shows.
Thanks for reading, and hey don’t forget to share.