Friday, August 18, 2017

Getting Along

Romans 12:18 says “If it is possible, as much as it depends upon you, be at peace with everyone.” That is hard in a world of increasing conflict. It is God’s role to avenge and judge behavior not ours. He goes on to say if an enemy is hungry or thirsty to give them something to eat or drink that it would pour hot coals on their head. In other words, He is saying that good examples can cause someone to be embarrassed by their bad or evil intent. Mother Theresa said of such times with difficult people to “do it anyway.”

The letter to the Hebrews also has teaching on this subject. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:14-15).  The writer talks of Esau, Jacob’s brother who had no interest in spiritual things, therefore missing his blessing and inheritance. He was rejected. God is pretty clear on this question, saying that there is evidence of not being a believer and missing more than earthly inheritance, but eternal inheritance with God in heaven as well. This is about relational strife. I don’t think we can have peace with others unless we have peace with God. This is believing in Christ, wherein the Holy Spirit will come into you and be your Counselor and guide. He is the Prince of Peace and we can be peaceful too with Him. This requires holiness or the righteousness imputed into us through Christ because of His action by going to the cross.

I believe the earlier part of Hebrews 12, which talks about God’s discipline, which is designed to grow us up in holiness.  The writer tells us not to miss the grace of God, made perfect in our weakness. Without it, a bitter root grows up.  Seek Christian counseling before this happens.  We are admonished to have forgiveness and find reconciliation with others. We will progressively be transformed into His (Christ’s) likeness. So pursue holiness, for without it you will not see God (v.14). Bitter roots create strife. Ultimately this leads to a hardened heart that God will reject because you have rejected Him.

God is leading us through trials and difficulties so that we might be like Job who was finally able to say in the end, He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10 KJV).

Don’t turn back from the truth, live for an increasingly intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and be blessed to be at peace in all circumstances, full of grace and mercy.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.