21st July 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Live Peaceably

“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12:18 (NKJV)

I would like to address the first of two expositions of this verse to the context of SEP.  SEP is our Summer Educational Programme which begins tomorrow on the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland.  It is a two week long programme of sport and education, fun and fellowship based on Christian values for 13 to 17 year olds.  The campers are divided into single gender dorms of 15 or so where they have to live together for the duration of the camp.

It doesn’t take much imagination to recognise the possibilities of friction and disharmony in such close proximity over two weeks.  You know life is like this sometimes.  We may find ourselves in situations that we cannot change; where there is an ‘atmosphere’, and possibly targeted at us.  So what can we do?

It isn’t possible to be specific in answer to the question but we find a general principal in scripture.  When writing to the church in Colosse, Paul seems to address a situation that could fit the above scenario.  “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-15)

Now there is much in these verses, but I want to pick out one part, “let the peace of God rule in your hearts”.  This word ‘rule’ is the word used of an umpire.  An umpire rules when there is an alternative view, he decides which view is to be taken.  Paul is saying here that we should choose the way that produces peace.  If that requires taking the hurt, being humble and patient, meek and merciful, then so be it.  That is the decision the umpire will make because that is the decision that takes the sting, the offence, out of the situation and produces the peace of God.

Two weeks living together in close proximity may well provide the opportunity to test the wisdom of this counsel.

Father in heaven, thank you for the wisdom and instruction you provide us with that will enable us to live in peace even with those who are offensive and cause us hurt.

Study by David Stirk

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