“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
The words snagged my conscience:
“…as far as it depends on YOU, Jane…”
The people pleaser that had been cloaked and hibernating within me awoke to war with my stubborn heart. I replayed the incident countless times, rewinding the tapes and analyzing my responses; listening for my tone and critiquing each emotion.
It was, decidedly, not one of my better moments.
I sat with the Lord in the whispery corners of the night, asking him if I was wrong.
“Should I go back and apologize, God? Have I failed to show grace? Have I totally missed the mark when it comes to pointing others to you?
Even as moonlight seeped from the invisible edges of our curtains, I stared into inky blackness seeking to justify and acquit. Instead, the thundering silence delivered something else.
Fighting tapes squeaked backward for a hundredth examination; it was then that I heard the echoes of Paul’s words in my ears.
“…live at peace…”
I felt God’s gentle hand take hold of mine, and tenderly, as a Father wanting to teach and not condemn, he softened my pride. He convicted me of my own sin and showed me how I could have better handled the sticky ugliness of confrontation.
I did not model peace.
I did not model grace.
I did not model self-control.
And in my heart, I knew that I had jeopardized my witness because of those failings. Even if I didn’t need to apologize for what I said, I knew I need to apologize for the way I conducted myself in the saying.
So when morning parted the darkness, I sat down and wrote a letter. I said that I was sorry for this and for that. And I asked for forgiveness.
This Christmas, the Prince of Peace is inviting us to take the first step toward reconciliation. When relatives are crazy and guests become belligerent, he invites us to examine how we might further harmony and joy. When a “should-be-calm-and-collected-conversation” speeds into a brick wall of hurt and injury, he asks us to be the first to bandage the wounds.
Because today and everyday, living at peace is God’s call for his children. And as far as it depends on me, I will lay aside my pride to chase after it.
What comes to mind when you read Romans 12:18? Will you share your thoughts with our community?
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