28th July 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Be A Peacemaker

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

In this second exposition of this verse set in the context of our Summer Education Programme (SEP), let us turn the tables and ask how we can be the cause of peace.  And let us focus on things said that may disrupt the peace.  Often it is what is said that causes offence and hurt.  Notice the apostle James’ understanding:  “For we all stumble in many things.  If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2)

I trust we can all see ourselves, at times, in this verse.  James goes on, “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” (James 3:5-6)

And from where does the motivation for this fire come?  From our old enemy; selfishness. James 3:16 says, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there.”

So what can we do about it?  James also provides the answer to that question in the next two verses (17-18), “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

You will see that all these aspects of wisdom are non-confrontational, that they are accommodating, accepting, and allow for the mistakes of others, even indicating a willingness to yield and not to fight back, always seeking the way that will produce and maintain peace.

As the apostle points out, the tongue can be an unruly evil full of deadly poison (verse 8).  Therefore we need to be very aware that words can do far more damage than break bones.  We need to cultivate the habit of thinking twice, or even more, and speaking only once, of making certain that our spiritual mind is in gear before we turn on the engine of our tongue.

If we weigh our words in this way we are less likely to be the source of discord and far more likely to be the source of peace to the benefit of all.

Father in heaven, let me be a source of peace amongst those I meet and with whom I deal.  Give me wisdom, please, that my words will always be up-lifting and edifying, a cause of unity, love  and peace that might touch the lives of others.

Study by David Stirk

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