Romans 12:18 (niv)… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 (msg)… Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Romans 12:18 (tlb)… Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible.
Have you ever felt the pain of having someone (maybe a child) make really bad choices? All you wanted was the best for them and now they are out of control. The pain, anguish, disappointment… you cry tears of sadness… and you pray they would have a change of heart.
Imagine how God must feel.
He created man… in His image… His masterpiece. Gave them a paradise to live in. Instead of focusing on what they had…they lusted for what they did not have (knowledge of evil). Sin entered in… poor choices were made… evil…dissension… violence… discord are part of our sinful nature.
I imagine that He is shedding many tears as He watches what is happening in this great nation that we live in. Many of us sit and watch the video of people looking at others with hatred…treating them with abusive words and violence. The images are all too common…. the pain and issues have been long coming. Many are my age and watched this cycle over and over again.
What is God’s reaction to all of this? LOVE! And yet it must break His heart.
You may have seen a picture (I have one in my office) of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. Luke 19:41…And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it.
In the same way, as we watch the news, we weep… we pray for peace.
Many people have asked me “What they can do? How can they help bring peace?” We pray…but then what? Maybe this song will help!
Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller wrote a song in 1955. Vince Gill sang the simple and yet powerful words to this song:
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth
The peace that was meant to be
With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With ev’ry step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
I find it interesting that Jill Jackson-Miller, who had been suicidal after the failure of her marriage to screenwriter Felix Jackson, later said that she wrote the song after discovering what she called the “life-saving joy of God’s peace and unconditional love.”
Imagine a world where we all lived those words.
That was (and still is) God’s plan. Mankind living in peace and harmony with each other and with nature.
It starts with knowing the “life-saving joy of God’s peace and unconditional love.” Our relationship with the Lord is the foundation for our thoughts, words, actions, motives…as well as the way we are to treat others with love and respect.
The result will be that our desire is to Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, as we have seen, that is not always the case.
Now you may say, “Dave this is a downer of a devotion, I’m not the problem, I am not a violent person, a hateful person, a bigot, or hater….I am not rioting and vandalizing and yelling words of hatred.”
Good, that’s a start. But did you notice it said “Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me”
No…I don’t think it would help if you ran into a violent situation and shouted “stop, stop…we love you”
But….Do you pray for peace? Worldly peace as well as God’s Peace.
Let’s get personal…and maybe a little uncomfortable.
Are you at peace with the Lord? If not, ask Him for it, He is just dying to give you His Peace. Go back and read my May 28th.
Is there peace and harmony in your home…neighborhood…. workplace? If not…be an agent of peace in all areas of your life.
Are there people that you are not at peace with? Have you written them off, vowing to never forgive them? Take time to listen to what they are saying…put yourself in their shoes… Ask about their motive and back-story…walk a mile in their shoes!
What are your words and actions teaching your kids and grandkids? They are watching, you know.
Do you tend to pass judgement on people or groups of people? Take time to hear their story… and to walk a mile in their shoes.
Look into your own heart… listen to them…hear what they are saying… feel their pain… learn… ask God to transform your heart… work for positive change….be God’s instrument…pray!
How about your social media (sorry, I know this will hurt!). Go back and look at your recent posts. Are they beacons of hope and love? Do they build up, mend issues, and bring peace …or are they a vehicle of hate for whatever cause, political battle, self interest you need the world to know? Imagine if we all used our postings to our circle of influence to spread love and peace.
What can you do?
1 Peter 3:8-9…Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
How do we bring peace to divided land… ONE PERSON AT A TIME! Each one reaching one. It is contagious!
May your prayer be… Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!