As I pondered the incivility the pandemic has brought to on-line dialogue, Romans 12:18 came to mind today: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)
As Christians, I would argue that probably includes “giving in” more than our natures might desire. Not giving into sin…but not being so worried about standing up for our rights, slapping people back who dis us on social media, etc.
(I hesitate to say that. I am not suggesting we should be doormats, and there are definitely times we need to stand up to others, including government authority…e.g. when many of us opposed slavery and helped lead to its abolition.)
Perhaps the world would be a bit kinder if everyone who claims the name of Christ asked themselves why the meek inherit the earth and peacemakers are called the sons of God, and then decided how they were going to react. Short version: What should Jesus do (WWJD)?
Of course, that doesn’t mean we will live at peace with everyone. That’s why Paul was wise enough to say, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (emphasis mine). We know things won’t always be Skittles and rainbows, because Jesus told us it wouldn’t:
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:18-20, emphasis mine).
Brothers and sisters, if we aren’t at peace with someone, let it be for the right reasons, not because we blaspheme the name of Jesus by our words and actions towards others.
On the other hand, if we get along fine-and-dandy with the world, and it doesn’t hate us, then maybe Jesus is not truly our master.