If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:18 ESV
Recite using the acronym:
I P , S F A I D O Y , L P W A . ROMANS 12:18
Read Full Passage HERE
Wow. The last couple of years have surely been full of disunity, disagreements, and broken relationships. I can’t help but think that if the church body were to have held fast to this passage that the events of the last two years might have drawn us closer and not pulled us apart. We’ve sat with friends and family, and even our brothers and sisters in Christ, arguing over the few things we disagree over, instead of being edified and unified by the many beliefs that we share. We’ve let our allegiance to our political parties take the place of our allegiance to Christ and the unity and humility that flows from it. I believe disagreement has truly plagued our communities, causing division in our world. But, I believe that under the banner of Christ, disagreement may be our greatest opportunity to truly show the love of Christ. How? Let me explain.
What if the Christian, instead of being known for what he was against, was known for what he was for. What if the believer went out and shared Jesus before she shared condemnation. What if instead of sharing the many errors of your father's argument, showed him the love and better path of truth. And, what if you even walked away from conversations being so rooted in Christ, that the false beliefs of your sister lead you to prayer and not anger.
When the rest of the world is falling apart of disagreements, let's remember that Christ rarely called out the prideful religious hierarchy or the sinful taxcollector for their error, but instead asked them challenging questions with grace and honor. Let’s model this and be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, not revolting back with harshness even when we are right, but instead let us be so grounded in truth that it leads to humble and graceful questions to our friend or even enemy.
The mark of a true Christian is humility, and this is what will lead to true unity. We should never let our areas of disagreement overpower our call to love our neighbor. We are to be set apart, distinguishable from the rest of the world. The world holds grudges and prides itself in its convictions to the point that the opposing people become just that. Opponents. Will the world look to us and see something different about us? That we are being examples of Christ? Or will they think that we are no different from them from what they see? I pray that the former will be true about me, that as truth comes out of my mouth it will be filled with grace. That even when the wolf attacks, I will yes, be wise as a serpent, but also innocent as a dove. (Matthew 10:16)
All this said we aren’t called to live unconcerned with the beliefs of the unbelieving world that are rebellious to God’s truth. Instead, we are called to present truth in grace and humility and to be slow to speak and slow to become angry. God has deemed us ambassadors of His good and perfect truth. But the truth found in Him becomes repulsive and unattractive to the unbeliever when it is masked by the sinful behavior of a believer whose pride takes the place of humility and love. You won’t win anyone over to Christ with rash words and an angry spirit. This principle applies also to the relationships between believers. We must give the benefit of the doubt. Trust is freely given, distrust is earned. We lead with trust and believing people have the best intentions until they prove otherwise.
Ultimately, let us be a church that lives faithfully, through the graceful proclamation of the Gospel, to bring together every nation, tribe, and tongue, as we wait eagerly for the day of Christ’s return when His glory and truth will be revealed to all creation.