“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
In my previous post I talked about the idea of pursuing peace by pursuing a mind governed by the Holy Spirit. As we seek Him through prayer, worship, and the Word, we will be filled with His fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. All of these are invaluable as we are also called to live at peace with one another.
Let me just say, this is hard stuff. Sometimes it’s much more pleasant to focus on the vertical relationship- to fill our hearts and minds with God’s truth and love. How easy it would be to just stop there! But as we know that faith without works is dead (James 2:17), we know that it is not enough to just know and feel the peace of God, but to live it out- that is, to live peaceably with others.
While this blog series is certainly not an exhaustive list of how to pursue peace in relationships, here are 6 truths to apply when interacting with family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and even random strangers on social media.
Refrain from Gossip: “A perverse person stirs up conflict, a gossip separates close friends.” Proverbs 16:28
It seems so innocent. You hear something interesting about someone and you just want to share it with someone else- what could be so wrong with that? Let me assure you…plenty. Part of our sinful nature is to judge, scrutinize, and take pleasure in the misfortunes of others. Sadly, we often get a small dose of guilty pleasure when we partake in gossip. But oh, that’s so ugly, isn’t it?
I don’t know about you, but whenever I engage in gossip it leaves me feeling full of both regret and disappointment in myself. There is definitely not peace within, and I have done nothing to build up my relationship with the person who was the subject of my gossip. The Bible repeatedly warns us to refrain from gossip and to use our words for the edification of others. Committing to the use of only helpful words of encouragement is a step in the direction of living in peace. When tempted to gossip or use hurtful words, ask yourself, “Are the words I’m about to speak helpful to pursuing peace with others?” Above all, pray for the Spirit to guard your lips and to give you an increasing measure of self-control.