Romans 12:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”
This can be a tall order at times. Some folks just seem to enjoy stirring things up. Chaos is their middle name; manufactured drama is their game. At times it would seem as if they were on earth to torment everyone. We are to live at peace with such people. Notice the phraseology: “Do all that you can”. The NIV translation states it like this: “as far as it depends on you”. In other words, don’t you start anything with anyone else. Jesus, speaking to Peter, tells him that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword (Matthew 26:52). Aggression is to be avoided as much as it’s up to you. Live in peace with those around you. There are times when peace is unachievable; I don’t believe God expects us to be a doormat. We are to be shrewd as a snake, yet innocent as a dove (Matthew 10:16). We need not allow others to trample us under foot; we just don’t need to instigate trouble. Defending yourself is one thing, inviting trouble is quite another.
God is ever present and thru His mercy He can defuse a potentially volatile situation, even if we started it. Forgiveness is what Paul is really talking about here rather than just avoiding trouble by not starting it. We are told to bless our enemies (Matthew 5:44); to love and forgive them regardless of what they’ve done. That may not always be easy, but it’s what Christ did for us. We aren’t excusing their lifestyle or their sin, we are acknowledging them, forgiving them and loving them in spite of their sins. This is at the core of Christianity. If we strike our enemy how does that make us any different than those in the world. We are not of this world; we’re just passing thru.
It’s our duty in Christ to learn and practice being patient and humble. We are to be faithful thru obedience to God’s standards set forth in scripture. As we grow and mature spiritually we will honor God and cause others to see an alternative to anger. Until next time, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
Resource: The Application Study Bible – New Living Translation – Tyndale House Publishing.