Although my siblings and I were raised in the same home, we have different ways of approaching life.
Despite our differences, there wouldn’t be much strife if interactions were limited to an occasional family gathering or Facetime connections for quick chats.
But in this season of our lives, we oversee the care of an elderly parent with dementia and, therefore, must come to a consensus on a multitude of decisions.
The need to work amiably despite differing opinions isn’t just for blood relatives, but also spiritual families. Most likely, that is why there are so many Scriptures that give insight into relational issues, telling us how to get along with one another.Both blood relatives and spiritual families must strive to live at peace with one another.
What can we do to live at peace with others?
“If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18 HCSB
The comment someone made while discussing this verse in a Bible study lodged in my mind. One of the ladies said, “‘If possible’ means to live at peace with others isn’t always possible.”
We all nodded in agreement. We were relieved to know that in an adversarial situation, the responsibility for a peaceful resolution wasn’t all on us.
Is this verse an excuse for discord?
“If possible” is one of those ambiguous statements. It seems to let you off the hook because, after all, you did everything possible to live in peace.
But the Holy Spirit didn’t let me walk away satisfied with the future efforts and overtures I would make for peace in my own wisdom.
Instead, I contemplated this question: “What is possible?”
Frankly, I had no idea. Therefore, I searched for all the possibilities to live at peace that were within my control.
What can we do to live at peace with others? What is possible?
Here are five Scripture-based possibilities to help you live at peace with others.Here are five Scripture-based possibilities to help you live at peace with others.
It Is Possible to Walk Worthy of Our Calling
“…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love,” – Ephesians 4:2 HCSB
We can walk worthy of our calling with all humility and gentleness and with patience, bearing with one another in love.
Christian theologian and author C.S. Lewis describes humility as “not thinking about yourself at all.” He wrote, “Such people take a real interest in what others have to say.”
While working with my siblings, I have come to a greater understanding of what this means.
Each of us have calendars with commitments and appointments. I have learned that what they think is important may seem ridiculous to me.
But if I walk humbly, I am interested in what interests them and willing to accommodate their schedule and needs.
Long ago, I embraced a definition of agape, the Greek word for love mentioned in Ephesians 4:2, which is “intelligently, intensely willing the best for another.” (Definition found in The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words by Terry L. Miethe)
When I bear with someone in love, I intensely desire the best for them and seek it thoughtfully. This is one way I have learned to live at peace with others.When we walk worthy of our calling in Christ, we can make peace possible in our relationships.
It is Possible to Consider More What We Might Do
“For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?” – Matthew 5:46-47 HCSB
I gleaned this truth from Cathy Dickinson’s teaching on conflict resolution within the body of Christ. We can ask, “What more are you doing than others (Mt 5:47)?”
Dickinson said, “We congratulate ourselves for not saying something bad or cruel. Unbelievers can do that, but they can’t say something kind when they are in conflict. They can’t love consistently when they are not getting loved back. Only a believer in the power of the Holy Spirit does.”
When we ask the Holy Spirit how we can live at peace with others, He will help us consider more what we might do.The Holy Spirit will help us consider more what we might to do live at peace with others.
It is Possible to Ask God for Wisdom
“Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” – Romans 12:16 HCSB
In Romans 12, Paul names many actions that will result in peace, thus bolstering his admonition to live at peace with all. They are good go-to Scriptures when adversity suddenly strikes.
But the advice given at the end of verse 16 seems to hold them all together: “Do not be wise in your own estimation.”
We do not know what motivates other people or why they react the way they do to situations.
Only God can look deep into a heart. A correct response requires God’s insight and wisdom.
In Matthew 7:7, Jesus tells us to ask, seek, and knock when we need wisdom.
Then when conflict arises, we can ask God for wisdom on how to live at peace with others.When conflict arises, we can ask God for wisdom on how to live at peace with others.
It is Possible to Think About Our Responses
“No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29 HCSB
This verse tells us the words we choose to express a point are to build up and benefit all within earshot. Therefore, our speech must be thoughtful with carefully chosen words.
When our message begins with “Let me be blunt,” we can know little thought has gone into the delivery of the message. At these times, we consider whether we are living according to our own wills or led by the Spirit.
In the Spirit, we will enter a situation with love, patience, kindness, and gentleness.
If these characteristics do not indwell our hearts, we can know our responses are wrong. But we can ask God for responses that help us live at peace with others.We can ask God for responses that help us live at peace with others.
It is Possible to Forgive
“And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” – Ephesians 4:32 HCSB
In Scripture, we read about forgiving as God through Christ forgave us. How are we forgiven?
Our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).
He keeps no record of our transgressions.
We are to keep no record of being wronged (1 Cor 13:5).
That is agape love.
The kind of love that leads to forgiveness is sacrificial love, the love that led Jesus to the cross (Eph 5:2).
Forgiveness is a key to help us live at peace with others.When we forgive others as God forgave us, we can live at peace with others.
To Live at Peace with Others, We Must Continue to Search Scripture
“Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words of my mouth.” – Proverbs 4:5 HCSB
I have gone over five ways we might live at peace with others. Yet as I read the Bible, many ways to address conflict make my list of possibilities.
For example, we can seek out those who hold something against us to resolve the matter (Matt 5:23-24). Two of my sisters went to lunch together when issues about our mother’s care began to cause discord between them.
I also think of Matthew 7:1-5, which tells us to look for the “log” in our own eyes before we go after the “speck” in another person’s eye.
The conflict may be a result of our own sinful attitude, not theirs.
As I continue to search Scripture for possible ways to live at peace with others, I am amazed at the insight I receive from the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps God will always make way for peace that seems impossible to me.
– Susan Cort Johnson
Susan Cort Johnson has a writing ministry and leads women’s Bible study at her church, where honesty abounds so true transformation can occur as God’s Word is applied. She enjoys discussing biblical concepts with like-minded people, especially while sipping a cold brew coffee with sweet cream. Follow her on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.