Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:17-18 (NIV)
Please take a look at our Key Verse. When I read verse 18 and get to the second condition “…as far as it depends on you,…”, my mind recalls a story…
One day I was teaching Sunday School. Tony, a kid of five years old, was playing with Catherine and pulled her down. She cried. I approached and asked them what happened. Both of them blamed one another. Because Catherine was crying, I tried to comfort her and asked Tony to ask for forgiveness. His answer was, “forgiveness is for girls”. I had to smile – I was surprised with that quick, hard answer. I turned to Catherine and she told me: “I’ve forgiven him.” They played again.
Whether you accept it or not, peace has a source. In my story, Catherine brought back a great mood as it had been – she brought back peace. Living at peace with someone depends on someone else. Who is that someone else? Maybe it’s you, or us, or me.
Paul does not encourage us to just bend and let other people walk all over us, manipulate us, or take us as they want, but to do our best, by extending mercy, to live at peace with others. In other words, never be the source of an un-peaceful or troubled relationship with others.
This concept practically brings us to personal responsibility. It is easier to control yourself than to control others. Most of the time it is difficult to control what they do or say. It is (sometimes!) easier to control how you act, speak, respond, and love. It depends on you.
What are you doing to live at peace with others? Jesus showed a great example. He never reacted to those who mocked or hurt Him. He blessed them and prayed for them instead. It depended on Him. Let us learn and choose to live at peace with everyone in the same way.
This is the third in the “Extend Mercy to Others” series of blog posts and is submitted by our PEER Servants volunteer Evariste Macumi, residing in Bujumbura, Burundi.