“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” Romans 14:19 NIV.
Paul was addressing Christians who were debating dietary restrictions. Paul saw their argument as insignificant, teaching them instead that God’s kingdom is more than food or drink and is of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
We often allow ourselves to become bogged down in petty disputes. Trivial disagreements can often blow up to gargantuan proportions. Sometimes we are so determined to be right that we fail to realize when an argument is no longer relevant in the greater scheme of things.
Paul instructs us to make every effort to be peaceful and do what leads to “mutual edification.” We are implored to build one another up, not tear each other down.
When we go to extremes to prove our point or have the last word is that really satisfying? We can either draw people nearer to God with our actions or push them away. Do you have what it takes to listen to others, let alone respect their right to a differing opinion?
We won’t always agree with everyone but we should at least be able to communicate in a civilized manner. It isn’t necessary that we jump on every opportunity to prove others wrong.
We would all do well to evaluate the words we choose. Are our words helpful? Can they change a situation for the better? Or do we choose to expose the faults of others only to feel better about ourselves?
Sometimes silence is the best solution. What we choose not to say is just as significant as the words we utter. When we choose not to condemn, criticize or gossip we perpetuate peace, not chaos.
“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body, It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell,” James 3:5-6 NIV.
Every situation does not require our commentary. How often can we mirror God’s love by keeping quiet? Instead of commenting on what other people do, what if we prayed for them? What if we focused on correcting our flaws instead of exposing those of others?
God commands us to love Him and our brothers and sisters.
It is easy to love God. Loving our brothers and sisters is often much harder.
“My command is this; Love each other as I have loved you,” John 15:12 NIV.
“As I have loved you.”
Jesus showed compassion. Jesus forgave the very people crucifying Him. He even prayed for them! Jesus didn’t cast stones. Jesus met people right where they were, imperfections and all.
It isn’t always easy to love like Jesus, but shouldn’t we at least try?
“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God,” Matthew 5:9 KJV