“If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 CSB
Living at peace with the people in our lives requires us to allow people to disagree with us. We have to be humble enough to know, we don’t know everything. We could be wrong, in fact, we might be wrong. But God allows each of us to live our lives the way we choose. He has given us free will to make choices. We can choose peace or we can choose conflict, the choice is ours. I have found there are people who thrive on conflict, and there are people who will do anything to avoid conflict. In reality, conflict is part of healthy relationships. As Solomon tells us in Proverbs, iron sharpens iron (Prov. 27:17 NIV). The constant grating of sandpaper across a rough edge makes it smooth, in the same way, conflict can help us become better if we allow it too.
But there is another reason we need to live at peace with people to the best of our ability. We never know how long we will have them in our lives. When Cody died, I hadn’t seen him since my Mom’s funeral, six months prior, but we were at peace. He knew I loved him, and I knew he loved me, that peace helps me in times of grief. When my college roommate Leah died, we were at peace. We had lost touch as people do after college, but had recently reconnected. We had an opportunity to reconnect with each other, rekindling our friendship. When she passed, I had no regrets, but if we hadn’t had those moments together, I would have regretted deeply not having reached out to her. And when my Mom died, I had no regrets. I knew I had done everything I could to take care of her and honor her wishes. The Lord gave us two weeks together at the end to go through old pictures, answer any last questions, so that when she passed, I had no regrets.
In reality, there are people in our lives the best way to find peace is from afar. In cases of abuse, the best scenario is praying for them out of harm’s way. God isn’t asking us to be door mats, He’s asking us to live at peace. Unhealthy people can’t have healthy relationships, if they aren’t willing to do the work to become healthy, we can’t do it for them. The best thing we can do with people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions is love them from afar. We aren’t the ones who change people, God is. Often, when we pray for them, the person He changes is us. He gives us insights into how to love them better, often from a distance. And He is always working, no one wants unhealthy people to become healthy more than God, but that is His work, not ours. Learning to set boundaries in unhealthy relationships is how we find His peace.
Today I am going to find rest by finding peace. How can you find rest today? Comment below.