There is always potential for strife in relationships. The simple reason for this is that we are all sinners- sometimes we say selfish, hurtful things. Sometimes we intend to hurt, sometimes we neglectfully do so.
But how can we seek peace and unity with others, even in the midst of our sinfulness and tendency toward elevating self above all else?
Several verses have stood out to me recently on this subject.
Relationships take work, and the Bible is full of valuable advice about how to navigate relationships in a way that honors God and others.
Pr. 17:19 One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.
Pr. 17:14 The beginning of strife is like letting out waters so stop before the quarrel breaks out.
Pr. 17:19 One who loves transgression loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites broken bones.
Satan is always trying to sow seeds of discord in our relationships. That’s why we must be diligent in doing the opposite. Seeking peace as much as we can. Forgiving freely and often.
Refusing to hold a grudge.
Not letting our actions/responses be based on what other people have done or will do- but always respond in the light of what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ. We have been forgiven much; now we are called to extend that forgiveness to others.
This is tough.
When someone is unkind to me, when I feel that they have intentionally sought to exclude me or hurt me in some way- that desire to get even can rear its ugly head.
Maybe it stays in the background and then comes charging to the surface when I am put in a situation where I can either snub or welcome them (repay them in kind).
It takes more courage to extend love to those who have not shown us love. (Matt. 5:43-47)
Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Even those who underhandedly back stab and gossip about you.
God can give us peace- and love for that person if we ask.
Leviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
How can you seek peace today?
In your home, at work, in your neighborhood, and among friends or acquaintances…
how can we be peacemakers?
17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
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