Be Still Know
Romans 12.17-18 NLT
‘Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.’
The Christian life involves a complete rewiring of the way in which we think and live. It involves a total revolution in our lives because when someone does something evil to us the natural reaction is to retaliate. Everything in us makes us want to hit back. We want justice and we don’t want our attacker to think that they can get away with it. But Jesus’ way is different. He calls us never to take revenge but to leave that to God. Our job is to feed our enemies when they are hungry and to give them a drink when they are thirsty. We are to go out of our way to bless them and help them, and that is tough. That’s not the way we are naturally inclined to act, but it is the way of Christ and it is the way of peace.
Paul wasn’t unrealistic. His life brought him into conflict with many people and he had no illusions that his teaching would be easy to live out. He was as aware as anyone that Christianity was out of step with Roman society and that, as Christians lived out their daily lives, they would face daily challenges and difficulties. However, he urged his readers to do everything within their power to live at peace with other people. When attacked they had to do everything they could to restore peace, but when peace couldn’t be achieved they needed to pray for those who were attacking them and to act honourably.
None of this is easy but it is important to be aware that Paul was addressing this teaching to a community of Christian people. He knew that they would need one another’s strength, encouragement and prayers. We are never invited to follow Christ as heroic individuals but as part of the body of Christ, within which we are surrounded by Christian brothers and sisters who will love us and stand with us amidst all the challenges of life.
Question: In what situations are you bringing the gift of peace at this time?
Prayer: Loving God, help me to bring your peace to those with whom I live and work today. Amen
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