We are list people, whether we write it down or attempt to contain it all in our head, we love us some lists. We list what needs to be done, our goals and items to pick up at the store. Paul too loved his lists; the nine Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23) his ‘think on these things’ (Phil. 4:8) and of course ‘Love is…’ (1 Cor. 13). There is yet another list, a list full of practical lifestyle responses, ‘in view of God’s mercy…’ found in Romans chapter 12. We are told to be devoted, joyful, patient, hospitable and faithful, we are to love, cling and honor and in no way are we to lack zeal, curse others, and repay evil. My favorite of this list is verse 18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with each other.” ‘If it is possible.’ Hm, interesting, there is no if …it hangs low enough, to where I can reach it and cling to what is good or if …you can muster up some patience or devotion. Nope, you just get those done through the Holy Spirit (in Jesus name).
The fact remains, there are times, peace does not reign in relationships, it takes a ton of work and an abundance of divine intervention. ‘Peace’ (Eirene in the Greek) which literally means ‘set at one’ – the word picture conveys something that was once erected, has either been removed or toppled over. Chaos, frustration, strife and even war can be the result of the deep crevasse left behind. Peace is putting it back in its place – set at one! The ultimate example; the Garden activities in Genesis; All things are good, then man messes up, the God/man relationship is broken [leaving a hole]. Fast forward – Jesus comes [Prince of Peace] the glorious Son puts things back in its place, things made right, He fills the chasm, we now have… Peace. (Ro. 5:1)
When there is strife or any evidence of some toppling over, do we do our very best to identify, pull up and reset what is missing? Do we invest ourselves in seeing peace restored? Paul gives a simuliar list to the Ephesians, yet wraps it up with a divine-like bow: “Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” (4:32 MSG) I love his direct prodding and not to mention (but I will) hint of admonishing. He plays the holy tag-team card, God forgave – ‘your turn.’ What a challenge! How painful! How risky – but worth it. Putting God and God stuff back in the center, THAT is seeking peace with my brothers and sister. ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with each other.’
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)