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When Jesus, Paul and Peter Say Live at Peace with Everyone, I think They Mean It

Too many church goers seem to have bitter fruit. Seriously. And it bothers me, because Jesus says “you will know a tree by its fruit.” I see many people complaining all the time. Complaining about the government, complaining about their neighbors (and yes, I mean everyone), complaining about the economy, complaining about other members of the church, and complaining about life in general. They complain so much, you’d think they thought it was a spiritual gift! Yet, when I read Scripture, I see Jesus, Paul, Peter and the rest urging us to live at peace with everyone. I see Solomon saying a foll will be known by his many words, and I wonder how many people take the words of Scripture seriously.


Being at peace with your enemy is a Christian Virtue. What it means is that you do all you can to love them, to pray for them, even to serve them. What it does not mean is that you approve of what they do, and it most certainly does not mean that they will respond in kind to you. Know this, loved ones: Jesus died for your enemies too, and it has been, since the beginning (remember the Centurion who recognized the deity of Christ as He died?) that our enemies can become our brothers.


Christians should not be known for bitterness, contempt or rebellion. Rather, we should be known, as the Apostles were known, as having been with Jesus. We can’t argue our way, fight our way, or brow beat our way into heaven. That access is granted by Jesus alone who, while we were yet His enemies, died for us, saying of those who were mocking Him, and who had put Him to death (who were much like we have been in our own lives) “Forgive them Father, they do not know what they do.” So I echo the words of Jesus. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. I echo the words of Peter, God wants that no one should perish, and is patient with us. I echo the words of Paul, submit (only as it pertains to godliness) to governing authorities, and let God judge those outside of the Church (Let us manage our own house!). Let us strive to be like Jesus, loving our enemies, praying for those who persecute us, and, on our part anyway, seek peaceful existence with everyone (and, yes, in spite of what THEY do).


Romans 12


I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.


Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.


Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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