“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” -Romans 12:17-18
–article written by Chad A. Damitz
When I was in college, I worked at a fast-food restaurant. If customers didn’t get the right order or the wait time took too long, they would get so angry and upset.
My goal as the cashier was to calm the customer down and assure them everything would be fine. Then, once I gave them a free sandwich coupon for their inconvenience, most of them would relax and even apologize for their harsh attitudes.
Isn’t it interesting how a simple coupon can change a conversation from bitter rage to thankfulness? It’s fascinating to me how vulnerable our emotions really are. Humans get upset for the most trivial circumstances but can turn off that switch and be pleasant to you when a small gift is offered.
As Christians, we do not need a coupon or small gift to treat everyone with gentleness and respect. In fact, it is required for believers to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). We are not to repay anyone evil for evil. As Scripture teaches, if it is possible, live at peace with everyone.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught an attribute pertinent to living peaceably with everyone. He told his disciples: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:9).”
When we strive for peace and reconciliation with the world, God promises to give us an eternal inheritance. I think this inheritance is granted to peacemakers because God can entrust someone who imitates God’s unconditional love.
Are you striving to live peaceably with people at work? Are you doing all you can to establish harmony within your sphere of influence? Is it your ambition to have a house full of love, joy, and peace?
When we wake up in the morning, our first goal should not be how much money we can make or what entertainment we can consume. Instead, our purpose ought to be living at peace with the world.
“I heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is an 1863 carol based on the poem Christmas Bells by the American poet Henry Longfellow. When you listen carefully to the lyrics, you will notice that the narrator is in despair because Christmas bells are being heard during the gunfight of the American Civil War. Here is a stanza that really express this:
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
What an incredible statement. Here we have Christmas being about the birth of Jesus, the Messiah and light of the world. His name means Immanuel, God is with us. In fact, the Bible teaches God’s Son as being the Prince of Peace. And in the midst of the Christmas season, people become the grinchiest and “scroogiest” of all!
In the end, our world needs Jesus to set the captives free from bitterness and anger. Our nation needs to repent of their greed and lustful hearts. Our own conscience needs to rid itself of frustration and hatred. We need to put off the old man, the carnal nature, and put on the new self, the godly person.
The power of the Holy Spirit needs to permeate through our conscience. When we allow God to work in our hearts, then we can truly show peace and good-will toward humanity. This Christmas season, may it be a reminder for all of us to obey the two greatest commands: Love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Peace to you!