Thursday, October 15, 2020

How To Live In Peace With Others In 2020

 Thursday, October 15, 2020

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NLT

Standoff: a confrontation between at least two parties in which neither party can proceed nor retreat without being exposed to danger. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it; a stalemate or deadlock between two equally matched opponents in a dispute or conflict.

With so many intense issues going on in the world today, it seems like we are in a standoff, staring wide-eyed at each other, waiting for someone to make the next move.  It feels like a stalemate with no one willing to back down first.  Things we had hoped would never really happen in our lifetime are happening.  Liberties and safety have been compromised within the borders of our own country, and people feel fearful and question the actions and motives of those around them. It has become a crime to punish those who disobey the law so who is safe? Who can be trusted? 

Understanding and Being Understood
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families Stephen Covey said, Seek first to understand, then to be understood. It is more important than ever that we make the effort to try to understand one another and where we are all coming from.  Paul told us to live in peace with everyone, if it is at all possible.  That means that we must do everything possible on our part to get along with everyone.  God expects that of us. It does not mean to support agendas that do not coincide with God’s word but it does mean that we might need to make a little extra effort to understand those around us.  

We cannot influence others if do not seek to understand them first. 

He also said, People do not see the world as it is, they see it as they are.  We all have our own worldview.  We bring our own assumptions, expectations, suspicions, and experiences from our childhood and we view the world through these lenses.  Everyone's perspectives are different and we each have our own ideas of how the world should be - and how we want it to be. 

Fear can cause us to not seeing the world as it truly is, and to not see others in a true light.  I am a “head in the sand kind of person” - that is how I prefer to handle difficulty.  I want to pretend it isn’t really there and hope it goes away with no problems or conflict. We need to take our heads out of the sand and pay attention to what is going on. We cannot control the world, but we can control ourselves.  It is cliché but we can love the sinner, not the sin.  We easily get lost in wanting to win or to put the other person in his place but our true focus in everything we do should only be to honor Christ with our words and actions and to understand what it is He is teaching us through our experiences. 

Compromising morals and beliefs was never meant to be part of “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”  Some of us are guilty of erasing our own lines to keep everyone happy but this will only work for a little while in any situation.  Pretty soon, everyone will be happy but you. That is certainly not what Paul was talking about in this passage. When things get heated and tense, we need to take a step back and place ourselves in the other person’s shoes.  Try to understand.  We may never get the favor returned but it is our only option in trying to live in peace with others.

 Above everything else, as a Christian, our words and actions should always be a direct
reflection of our Heavenly Father, no matter what else is going on. 

The examples we were given of those in the Bible lived through all kinds of political and social storms, but the message was always the same. Pray and ask God for strength, wisdom, understanding, and patience, to first understand  others, and then seek to be understood in a peaceful way

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11  

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