Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:18
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” – Romans 12:18
This verse is a very difficult one to follow, especially in the times we live in. Peace is one thing we should always strive for. It may not always be possible, however, that does not mean we shouldn’t strive for peace in every encounter we have with others, both the saved and the unsaved.
This verse starts with the idea that as far as it depends on us. This means that we are to do everything imaginable to preserve the peace, short of compromise. First, we are not to begin or to originate a quarrel. Our words are to be ones that show the love we have for the person or persons we are speaking with. If we become angry and our words and actions show it, then we may lose the ability to speak into their lives. If to a Christian, they may not be willing to listen to us when we are trying to help them in their walk with God; thus causing them to continue doing that which is wrong, where if we remained cool, calm and collected, we may have been able to help them see their error and turn from it. And if to the unsaved, they may turn away and not receive Christ as Savior, or at least look into it. Both instances will be problematic regarding our ability to speak into their lives. And because they may tell others, we may even close the hearts of anyone else who may endeavor to speak with them.
Secondly, if the anger is started by them, we must do all we can to appease that anger. We should not walk off until we have done all we can to bring peace to the conversation, and possibly come to the point where they could listen to what we have to say, though this may not be possible because their hearts may be so closed to the truth that any attempt to speak it may incite the anger in them. If this occurs, we should apologize and make peace if we can. And we should then pray for, not necessarily with, the individual that God would open their hearts to receive the truth we intended to share with them. The psalmist put it this way, “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14. I believe the evil he speaks of does include quarreling with those we speak with. But note, we are not just to seek peace, we are to pursue it as well. As Albert Barnes states in his commentary of Psalms, we must follow after it, make it an object of desire and put forth the effort to life in peace with all people.
It is important that we follow this with all our heart. I have seen far too much quarreling and gossiping within churches, and all it does is create division. Both sides may be desiring the same outcome, but they have differences in how to approach it. We must do all we can to be at peace with everyone. This way, we can remove the divisions that hurt the work of the church, and open people’s hearts to the message we have from God to them. This is a huge part of our calling, for it provides the platform by which we make it happen.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.