Live at peace with everyone ...

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. -Romans 12:14-18 NIV

It is hard to look at the life of Jesus in the gospels and see a person that was at peace with everyone. On many occasions he deliberately confronted religious leaders and made them angry. Christ's life, I believe, is the proper backdrop for Paul's instructions in these verses. He is not telling us to be doormats for the bullies of the world. Neither is he saying that it will always be possible to live in harmony with those oppose the gospel of Christ.

So what is he saying? I think that he is speaking about what it means to love everyone - friends and enemies. To love some means to see the best in those who treat you badly. To love others is not to self-righteously judge those who have fallen on hard times. Love is what Paul means when he speaks of doing what is right in everyone's eyes. In truth peace can only come from a love that is unconditional in nature and willing to put others interests above our own.

Teach us to love the way that you love Lord Jesus. Remind us of how you forgave your accusers from the cross.

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